Business / Corporate

Fast Retailing net profit up 7% on robust overseas sales

Kyodo

Fast Retailing Co. said Thursday its group net profit in the nine months to May rose 7.0 percent from a year earlier to ¥158.67 billion, its highest for the period, supported by growing overseas sales of its Uniqlo-brand casual clothing.

The company said its group operating profit rose 3.7 percent to a record ¥247.69 billion on sales of ¥1.82 trillion, also up 7.0 percent.

Fast Retailing maintained its earnings outlook for the business year through August, projecting a 6.6 percent increase in net profit to ¥165 billion and an operating profit of ¥260 billion, up 10.1 percent, on sales of ¥2.30 trillion, up 8.0 percent.

Overseas operating profit derived from Uniqlo stores grew 11.1 percent to ¥124.84 billion on sales of ¥820.51 billion, up 14.6 percent from the previous year thanks to robust sales in China and Southeast Asia.

The company has successfully established a positive brand image in such markets, Fast Retailing Chief Financial Officer Takeshi Okazaki said in a news conference.

However, he voiced concerns about consumers in South Korea possibly boycotting Japanese products after Japan tightened rules on semiconductor-related exports to its neighbor in the wake of South Korean court decisions requiring Japanese companies to pay compensation for wartime labor.

The domestic business generated ¥96.71 billion in operating profit, down 19.5 percent, and sales of ¥701.07 billion, down 0.5 percent, as the company pushed back part of its annual sales campaign to June, the company said.

Meanwhile, sales in the United States and Europe were weaker than the company expected as poor weather hampered sales of spring and summer clothes.