By  on October 10, 2008

TOKYO — Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. 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 profits for the year rose 37 percent to 43.53 billion yen, or $403 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.

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 the 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, such as Comptoir des Cotonniers.

Sales and operating profit grew in key markets including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the firm said. Sales outside Japan, 12.2 percent of Fast Retailing’s total, rose 33.2 percent.

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

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