Uniqlo owner posts 22% surge in 9-month profit, raises forecast

Uniqlo owner posts 22% surge in 9-month profit, raises forecast
Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo sign boards are displayed at a casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan on Jan 11, 2023. (Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato)

TOKYO: Japan’s Fast Retailing, the owner of clothing brand Uniqlo, said on Thursday (Jul 13) its nine-month profit soared 22 per cent as its business in China continued to recover from a pandemic slowdown, and it raised its full-year forecast to a new record.

Operating profit rose to 330.6 billion yen (US$2.38 billion) in the nine months ended on May 31, from 271.1 billion yen in the year-earlier period. The company raised its full-year profit forecast to 370 billion yen from 360 billion yen.

That compares with an average estimate of 363 billion yen in annual operating profit based on a poll of 14 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

The company known for its fleece jackets and inexpensive basics has 925 Uniqlo outlets in mainland China – more than in Japan – making it a bellwether for a retail market that was hammered by COVID-19 restrictions in recent years.

Business in China started to turn around in January, resulting in sharp increases in sales and profit from the region in the second quarter, the company said in April.

Fast Retailing’s shares have soared 32 per cent so far this year, helping founder Tadashi Yanai cement his place as Japan’s richest person. The company’s shares have outpaced a 24 per cent advance in the benchmark Nikkei that has been one of the hottest equity markets worldwide.

Source: Reuters/rj