TOKYO – Fast Retailing saw double-digit profit and sales growth for the  fiscal year ended Aug. 31, bucking an otherwise negative trend for retailers in a sluggish Japanese economy.

Net profit for the year rose 37.0 percent to 43.53 billion yen, or $403.0 million, while the operating profit increased 34.7 percent to 87.49 billion yen, or $810.1 million.  Sales advanced 11.7 percent to 586.45 billion yen, or $5.43 billion.

Dollar figures were converted at average exchange rates for the period to which they refer.

Fast Retailing attributed the gains to the successful international expansion of its Uniqlo brand as well as the development of products like unique printed T-shirts and quick-dry garments.

The company noted that its international business generated its first operating profits this year. Those operations include Uniqlo’s flagships in New York, Paris and London as well as some of Fast Retailing’s other brands like Comptoir Des Cotonniers.

Sales and operating profit grew in several key markets including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the company said. Sales outside Japan, 12.2 percent of Fast Retailing’s total, rose 33.2 percent to 71.59 billion yen, or $662.8 million.  

Still, the company signaled that its growth for the current fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31, 2009, is likely to slow down. Net profit is forecast to grow 10.3 percent to 48 billion yen or $475.2 million while revenue is seen rising 5.7 percent to 620 billion yen, or $6.2 billion.

Last week, Fast Retailing announced that Uniqlo’s same-store sales in September spiked 20.8 percent.