TOKYO — Fast Retailing said Thursday it posted year-over-year gains for its first-quarter profit and sales. The results were buoyed by higher-than-forecast profits at Uniqlo Japan, as well as Uniqlo International revenue that exceeded that of Uniqlo Japan for the first time.
A foreign exchange gain of 3.9 billion yen also helped boost the company’s bottom line.
For the three months ended Nov. 30, Fast Retailing’s net profit grew 12.7 percent to 78.5 billion yen, or $702.4 million. Operating profit was up 28.6 percent, totaling 113.9 billion yen.
The retailer posted first-quarter revenue growth of 16.7 percent, coming in at 617 billion yen.
Fast Retailing reported gains in both profit and sales in all of its business segments. For the first time, Uniqlo International’s revenue edged out that of Uniqlo Japan, growing 31.4 percent to 258.2 billion yen.
“Among group operations, Uniqlo International reported a significant rise in revenue and profit in the first quarter,” the company said in a statement. “Revenue and profit contributions from Greater China, South Korea and Southeast Asia and Oceania were especially strong in the period. Results at Uniqlo U.S. continued to improve, with a profit in the first quarter.”
In contrast, Uniqlo Japan’s revenue increased by 7.6 percent to 257 billion yen.
“Same-store sales, which include online sales, expanded by 8.4 percent year-over-year,” Fast Retailing said of its Uniqlo Japan operation. “Strong demand and ample inventory of essential fall [and] winter items, such as Heattech, down coats, sweatshirts and merino wool sweaters, resulted in robust sales. Online sales increased 25.6 percent compared with the same period a year ago, and constituted 7 percent of overall sales.”
Revenue from GU, an even lower-priced, trendy sister brand to Uniqlo, grew 5.6 percent to 60.8 billion yen. The current fiscal year marks the first time GU has been separated into an independent segment, reflecting its growing impact on the company’s overall performance. It was previously reported under Fast Retailing’s global brands segment.
The global brands business, which includes Theory and Comptoir des Cotonniers among others, saw revenue growth of 13.8 percent to 40 billion yen.
The company left unchanged its guidance for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31. It expects net profit to grow 0.6 percent to 120 billion yen. It is forecasting that yearly operating profit will gain 13.4 percent to 200 billion yen.
Fast Retailing predicts full-year revenue growth of 10.1 percent, for a total of 2.05 trillion yen.