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Uniqlo Nov. Comps Slide 14.5%

Retailer claims sales were in line with expectations.

TOKYO — Fast Retailing said Thursday that Uniqlo’s same-store sales in November fell 14.5 percent but it said the result was “largely in line” with its expectations for the period.

The company said it was facing difficult comps as it registered significant growth a year earlier. A Fast Retailing spokesman said that November has always been a volatile month for the retailer. He also warned that the coming months will likely prove to be challenging, forecasting that Uniqlo’s comps for the six months ending February 28 will decline overall by 9.8 percent.

 

Uniqlo’s monthly comps refer exclusively to its stores in Japan.

The Japanese fast-fashion player, which has logged exceptional growth in previous years, has had a choppy performance this year. Most recently, the retailer’s sales dropped 24.7 percent in September and 1.1 percent in October.

 

In October, Fast Retailing issued an unexpected profit warning, blaming irregular weather patterns and a botched product mix.  The company said it expects profits for the fiscal year ending August 2011 to decline 17.3 percent to 51 billion yen, or $618.27 million at current exchange. Sales are seen growing 5.1 percent to 856 billion yen, or $10.38 billion.

Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments, said the figures are disappointing.

“We expected some decline but that’s a pretty bad number,” he said. “A year ago they enjoyed very strong sales from Heatteach,” Ogawa said. “This year there’s a lot of competition, as other retailers came out with similar products.”