Uniqlo parent raises FY profit forecast by 13%

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Fast Retailing, Uniqlo’s parent company and Asia’s biggest clothing retailer has raised its full year profit forecast by 13 per cent thanks to robust growth in domestic markets.

The company said it now expects operating profit for the year to August to reach JPY 225 billion (£1.48 billion), roughly two per cent higher than an average polling of 17 Thomson Reuters analyst estimates.

As the world’s third largest clothing maker, Fast Retailing has long had the pole position as the world’s largest apparel retailer in mind.

Its growth in Asia could be what inches it ahead of H&M and Zara parent Inditex and into the number one spot.

“Asia’s era has finally arrived,” Fast Retailing chief executive Tadashi Yanai told a news conference in Tokyo.

In the first half of the year, online sales grew 31.6 per cent year-on-year, making up 7.5 per cent of total sales.

Fast Retailing said it expected online sales to grow a further 30 per cent in the second half of the year.

Overseas, Uniqlo intends to double the global sales it makes online by 2023, from 9 per cent to 18 per cent.

Founder Yanai also used the announcement to expand on his retirement plans in the coming years.

The 69 year old said a succession plan is now in place to ensure a smooth handover, which he has previously stated would happen by the time he is 70.

According to reports from WWD, Yanai will retire from chief executive, but is likely to remain on as chairman, having previously told the press, “there’s no such thing as retirement for founders”.

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