Uniqlo operator says annual profit soars to record

TOKYO (AFP) – Uniqlo’s parent company said yesterday that its annual net profit more than doubled from a year ago to a record thanks to strong sales and as a cheaper yen inflated profits.

Fast Retailing’s net profit came in at 119 billion yen ($1 billion) in the fiscal year through August, with revenue up 4.2 per cent at 1.86 trillion yen, it said.

Asia’s biggest retailer – a rival of Zara, Gap and H&M – said sales were particularly strong at Uniqlo’s foreign outlets including in China and around Asia-Pacific.

Fast Retailing has refocussed its strategy on luring bargain-hunters after an earlier bid to raise prices hurt Uniqlo’s sales.

The logo of Japan’s Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing at a company’s store in Tokyo. – AFP

Operating profit for the latest period also surged, jumping nearly 39 per cent to 176 billion yen thanks partly to cost-cutting and a smaller loss in its US business, the company said.

“Several factors contributed to this strong performance, including a considerable improvement in the gross profit to net sales margin following the shift towards much tighter discounting… the positive effects of cost-cutting efforts, and a halving of the operating loss at Uniqlo USA,” it said in a statement.