TOKYO — Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. has big plans for China.
“We’re aiming to open 100 stores a year in China, with the goal of reaching 1,000 stores there,” Fast Retailing’s chairman, president and chief executive officer Tadashi Yanai said at a press briefing at the Tokyo Stock Exchange Thursday.
The group recently revealed plans to open its largest global Uniqlo flagship in Shanghai in the fall. The new store will cover an area of more than 70,000 square feet.
China is key to Fast Retailing’s ongoing growth as the company continues its push to be the world’s largest apparel retailer by 2020. Yanai said Thursday that by the year 2020 he is targeting total sales of 5 trillion yen, or $50.32 billion at current exchange rates.
The China openings form only part of Fast Retailing’s global expansion plan. The company will open its first store in Indonesia in June, as well as a store in Melbourne, Australia, sometime next year. Yanai said Fast Retailing is also looking to enter the Indian market, and in Europe it is targeting Berlin, Barcelona and Milan.
In the six months ended Feb. 28, Fast Retailing added 67 Uniqlo stores outside of Japan, including 37 in China. At the end of the period, the retailer operated 847 Uniqlo stores in Japan and 359 elsewhere in the world.
Yanai revealed Fast Retailing’s plans as the retailer reported first-half net profits grew 13.2 percent and raised its net profit and sales forecasts for the full year, citing the benefits of a weak yen.
The company said that net profit for the six months ended Feb. 28 rose to 65.45 billion yen, or $785.40 million at average exchange rates for the period.
Operating profit for the period increased 5.3 percent to 96.66 billion yen, or $1.16 billion.
First-half sales rose 17 percent to 614.84 billion yen, or $7.38 billion.
Fast Retailing raised its full-year net profit forecast to 91.5 billion yen, or $920.86 million. This would represent year-on-year growth of 27.7 percent. In January, when releasing its first-quarter numbers, the retailer said that it expected net profits to come in at 87 billion yen, or $875.57 million.
The company left unchanged its operating profit guidance, predicting they will grow 16.6 percent to 146.5 billion yen, or $1.47 billion.
The retailer upped the sales forecast to 1.1 trillion yen, or $11.1 billion, an increase of 18.8 percent over the previous fiscal year. It previously predicted sales would come in at 1.07 trillion yen, or $10.77 billion.
Fast Retailing said each of its main business sectors registered growth in the first half of the year.
Uniqlo’s sales in Japan, still its biggest market, rose 6.2 percent to 387.25 billion yen, or $4.54 billion, in the first half of the year.
Uniqlo’s international sales clocked a much bigger jump, rising 54 percent to 130.66 billion yen, or $1.57 billion, helped by aggressive overseas expansion and the weakening of the yen.
Sales of Fast Retailing’s global brands business, which includes Theory, Princesse Tam Tam, Comptoir des Cotonniers, G.U. and J Brand, grew by 27.8 percent to 95.73 billion yen, or $1.15 billion.
Fast Retailing’s shares have been performing strongly on the Tokyo Stock Exchange recently. On Thursday, they rose 3.1 percent to end the session at 34,500 yen, or $347.21.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty