TOKYO — Uniqlo can outpace the recession but not the rainy season.
This story first appeared in the August 5, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., the company that owns the fast-fashion chain, said Tuesday an unusually long rainy season in Japan has bitten into business and caused the brand’s same-store sales in its domestic market in July to fall 4.2 percent.
That’s an abrupt change from the eight consecutive months of comps growth the company registered from November through June.
The number of consumers in July was almost flat, down just 0.3 percent from the previous year, but average spending per consumer dropped by 3.9 percent from the same month a year ago.
The rainy season in Japan, which normally ends in mid-July in most parts of the country, has persisted for a few extra weeks. Comparable figures from a year ago were tough since same-store sales in July 2008, a warmer and drier month, rose 11.9 percent.
“Heavy rain at the end of July this year is one of the main reasons the figures were lower,” said a spokesman, adding sales of summer items like T-shirts suffered, while those of more basic items like underwear remained steady.
The spokesman said Fast Retailing is not adjusting its full-year earnings and sales forecasts for the year ending Aug. 31. Those results are due to be released on Oct. 8.
Over the last 11 months, Uniqlo’s same-store sales in Japan have risen 9.8 percent.
Uniqlo’s same-store sales figures exclude the brand’s operations outside Japan.