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Uniqlo Owner Fast Retailing Annual Profit Rises 28% to Fresh Record

REUTERS/Heo Ran/File Photo
The logo of Uniqlo is pictured at Myeongdong shopping district in Seoul, South Korea.

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Fast Retailing Co 9983.T, owner of clothing brand Uniqlo, reported on Thursday that full-year operating profit rose 28% to reach its second consecutive record, aided by a post-pandemic recovery in China and the yen’s slide.

Profit was 381.1 billion yen ($2.56 billion) in the 12 months through August compared with 297.3 billion yen, the previous all-time high, a year earlier.

The result was slightly above the consensus forecast of 374.6 billion yen, according to the average estimate of 12 analysts collected by LSEG, as well as the company’s previous guidance of 370 billion yen.

Operating profit is expected to rise to reach another record of 450 billion yen next fiscal year, the company said.

The result followed record third-quarter earnings in July when the company raised its full-year forecast as its business in China continued to recover from a pandemic slowdown.

Fast Retailing, known for its fleece jackets and inexpensive basics, has 930 Uniqlo outlets in mainland China – more than in Japan – making it a bellwether for retailers operating in the world’s second-biggest economy.

When its Chinese operations suffered during strict COVID-19 restrictions, Fast Retailing put increased focus on markets in North America and Europe.

The company has an aggressive growth strategy for North America, where its regional chief Daisuke Tsukagoshi was elevated to president of the Uniqlo brand last month.

Fast Retailing, founded by Japan’s richest man Tadashi Yanai, has also benefited from depreciation in the yen, down about 12% against the dollar this year, which raises the value of its overseas sales.

Yanai, who holds about 19% of the company’s shares, and his family have a net worth of about $34 billion, according to Forbes.

$1 = 149.1300 yen