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Fast Retailing Reduces Guidance

Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, saw double-digit growth in the first nine months of the year.

TOKYO — Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. saw double-digit growth in the first nine months of the year, but uneven sales of spring items forced the company to cut full-year forecasts.

The Uniqlo parent said Thursday that net profit for the nine-month period ending May 28 rose 35 percent to 67.18 billion yen, or $738.98 million at average exchange for the period. Sales increased 22.7 percent to 659.06 billion yen, or $7.25 billion.

Uniqlo’s monthly sales performance so far this year has been mixed, an outcome the company has blamed on unseasonably cool spring weather and problems keeping some popular spring styles in stock. Just last week, the company said Uniqlo’s same-store sales in Japan fell 5.8 percent in the month of June.

On Thursday, Fast Retailing trimmed full-year profit and sales targets, the same ones the company raised in April when it released first-half figures.

The company now expects net profit for the full-year ending Aug. 31 to rise 35.6 percent to 67.5 billion yen, or $772.93 million at current exchange. That compares with a previous forecast of 71 billion yen, or $813 million.

The company said full-year sales should rise 19 percent to 815 billion yen, or $9.33 billion, compared with an earlier estimate of 834 billion yen, or $9.56 billion.

“While we have revised downward our second-half estimates for Uniqlo Japan, we are still predicting the operation will generate increased sales and profit for the full business year through August 2010,” the company said.

While Uniqlo’s sales growth in Japan appears to be slowing, the brand is still growing and expanding around the world. The company opened its first store in Russia this year. On May 15, Uniqlo opened its fourth global flagship in Shanghai and “met with phenomenal success,” according to the company.

“Uniqlo International is enjoying a favorable expansion, particularly in the Asian region. Uniqlo brand awareness is also increasing in the U.S. and Europe, generating improvements in sales and profit per store,” the company said Thursday.