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Uniqlo’s Feb. Comps Up 4.2 Percent

Japanese company also unveils a new retail concept targeting young women.

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TOKYO — Uniqlo’s same-store sales in February rose 4.2 percent, advancing for the fourth consecutive month.

This story first appeared in the March 4, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., which owns the casualwear chain, said Tuesday that new Uniqlo items like colored denim drove business. The company, one of the few retailers thriving in recessionary Japan, said 4.1 percent more people visited its stores in the country last month, although average spending per customer was flat year-on-year.

The February figures, like those for January, do reflect a slowdown from the double-digit sales growth Uniqlo registered at the end of 2008. January comps rose 5.7 percent, while those in November increased 32.2 percent and December’s climbed 10.3 percent.

A Uniqlo spokeswoman said February sales were still higher than expected for a month with one less business day than February 2008.

Uniqlo’s monthly sales figures exclude revenue from stores outside Japan.

The chain, known for its affordably priced basics and innovative fabrics, has been experimenting with both large- and small-scale retail formats recently.

Last week Uniqlo opened its first concept store targeting young female shoppers in their late teens and early 20s. The new store, which stocks colorful hoodies, denim, tiered skirts and other items, is located in Marui department store’s new Curren building dedicated to young female shoppers. The corner, which has more than 1,000 square feet of selling space, is located in Tokyo’s lively business and shopping district of Shinjuku.

In a similarly focused move, Uniqlo opened a men’s concept shop in Selfridges in London.

Fast Retailing executives said they have received proposals from department stores both in Japan and abroad to open more shop-in-shops and specialized sales corners.

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