By  on January 8, 2010

TOKYO — Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. said Friday its first-quarter net profit spiked 57.2 percent to 34.85 billion yen, or $385.8 million at average exchange rates.

The Japanese fashion giant, which owns the Uniqlo chain, said sales for the three months ended Nov. 30 rose 39.8 percent to 263.46 billion yen, or $2.92 billion.

Operating profit increased 49.1 percent to 61.06 billion yen, or $675.9 million, compared with the same period a year ago.

The company said sales at its recently opened Paris store and the worldwide launch of the +J collection designed by Jil Sander helped propel its growth in the first quarter.

During the three-month period, Uniqlo opened 33 units and closed 11 in Japan, bringing its store total to 792. Internationally, Uniqlo opened 10 units in China, 13 in South Korea and one in Hong Kong.

Fast Retailing also lifted its guidance for the full year ending Aug. 31. Net profit is now seen coming in at 67.5 billion yen, or $722.7 million at current rates, up 8.9 percent from the original forecast. Sales are forecast at 820 billion yen, or $8.78 billion, up 2.8 percent from the original estimate.

Uniqlo’s synthetic leather jackets and HeatTech garments sold well in the third quarter as the company embarked on special sales campaigns, including cash giveaways, to mark Fast Retailing’s 60th anniversary.

Fast Retailing’s brand portfolio also includes Foot Park, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse Tam Tam and low-cost brand g.u. Last year, Link Theory Holdings, the parent of Theory and Helmut Lang, became a full-fledged subsidiary of Fast Retailing.

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