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Fast Retailing net profit up 23.5% on brisk Uniqlo sales, with U.S.-China trade spat impacts ‘limited’: CFO

Kyodo

Fast Retailing Co., operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain, said Thursday its consolidated net profit for the nine-month period through May rose 23.5 percent from a year earlier to ¥148.3 billion ($1.3 billion), driven by strong sales at home and abroad.

The retailer said its group operating profit surged 32.3 percent to ¥238.9 billion, on sales of ¥1.7 trillion, up 15.3 percent.

Fast Retailing retained its earnings forecast for the business year through August, projecting a record group operating profit of ¥225 billion and net profit of ¥130 billion on sales of ¥2.11 trillion.

Combined overseas operating profits for the nine months were almost on par with those in Japan “as our brand has spread to countries such as China and South Korea, and Southeast Asia,” Chief Financial Officer Takeshi Okazaki said at a press conference.

Its Uniqlo business sales abroad surpassed those in Japan, with a 27.5 percent jump to ¥716 billion for the nine-month period. It posted a 65 percent rise in operating profit to ¥112.4 billion.

Uniqlo sales in Japan rose 7.8 percent to ¥704.4 billion, while operating profit increased 29.6 percent to ¥120 billion.

Okazaki said Fast Retailing would continue to watch for developments in the worsening trade dispute between the United States and China, and possible effects on its supply chain and operations in China.

“We project the impact of the trade spat on our supply chain currently is limited, but we would like to strengthen our system to adapt to any situation,” he said.