Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing reported a 16% jump in first-half profit and lifted its outlook for the full year on Thursday, as the Japanese retailer saw a fledgling recovery in China and strong sales growth in Europe and North America.

Known for its affordable fleece jackets and Heattech thermals, Uniqlo has become a bellwether for global retailers in China, where it has around 900 stores, making it Fast Retailing's biggest foreign market and surpassing the number of stores in Japan.

The results add to a growing body of evidence that Chinese consumer spending is rebounding after long COVID-19 lockdowns took their toll on the world's second-largest economy.