TOKYO — Fast Retailing said Thursday that it posted increased first-quarter profit and sales compared to the same period a year earlier.
In the three months ended Nov. 30, the Uniqlo parent company saw net profits grow by 33 percent on the year, totaling 93.5 billion yen, or $812.4 million.
Operating profit for the same period increased by 5.6 percent to 119.4 billion yen.
The group’s revenues rose by 1.2 percent year-over-year, coming in at 627.3 billion yen.
“The record performance for the first quarter was influenced by a greater diversification of the group’s revenue streams, with strong performances at Uniqlo operations in South Asia, Southeast Asia & Oceania — which includes Southeast Asia, Australia and India — North America and Europe regions,” the company said in a statement.
Uniqlo International saw sales increase by 15 percent on the year, totaling 299.7 billion yen. Among individual markets, Uniqlo’s operations in mainland China reported a decline in sales and profit, which the company said was due to “weaker apparel consumption following continued strict restrictions to control the COVID-19 pandemic and compared with a robust performance a year ago.”
Uniqlo USA saw a large increase in sales and moved into the black during the period, with a partial recovery of travel demand contributing to the growth. Uniqlo Europe saw increases in both revenues and profit, as cool temperatures and improved consumer sentiment sent more people out to stores.
In its home market of Japan, Uniqlo saw sales and operating profit fall by double digits. Revenue decreased by 10.8 percent to 226.4 billion yen, while operating profit dropped by 18.8 percent to 48.7 billion yen. Same-store sales for Uniqlo Japan declined by 7.7 percent year-over-year.
The decline followed strong demand in the year-ago period, when the pandemic contributed to higher stay-at-home demand and sales of Airism masks, Fast Retailing said about the Uniqlo Japan business. “In addition, warm weather from September through mid-October stifled sales of fall items. Once the weather turned cooler, sales of outerwear and thermal innerwear gathered strength, with the fall sale event in November showing gains from the previous year.”
The company also noted that despite the poor performance by Uniqlo Japan in the period under review, the segment remains on a steady expansion track, growing by about 50 percent over a two-year period.
GU, Fast Retailing’s lower-priced, fashion casualwear brand, also saw its sales and profit decline in the first quarter. Its revenue slipped by 8.7 percent year-over-year to 69.8 billion yen, while operating profit plummeted by 34.5 percent to 8.9 billion yen.
The company left unchanged its guidance for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31. It is expecting net profit to grow by 3 percent to 175 billion yen, and operating profit to gain 8.4 percent to 270 billion yen. It is projecting yearly sales growth of 3.1 percent to 2.2 trillion yen. Fast Retailing’s overall goal remains to become the world’s top brand, which it says it plans to achieve by strengthening its global business expansion and sustainability efforts.