// Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing witnesses rise in profits
// The group expects to deliver an operating profit of £1.7bn this year
// Fast Retailing said a “strong rise in profit” in its native Japan and the Greater China region drove its profit gains
Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing has recorded a 23 per cent rise in operating profit to Y167.9 billion (£1.1 billion) during the first six months of its financial year.
However, revenues dropped by a mere 0.5 per cent to Y1.2 trillion (£8 billion).
The group now expects to deliver an operating profit of Y255 billion (£1.7 billion) in 2020/21, compared with its previous estimate of Y245 billion (£1.6 billion).
Fast Retailing said a “strong rise in profit” in its native Japan and the Greater China region drove its profit gains.
“Sales and profits in China exceeded our projections. Profitability rose because we were able to limit discounts as we tried to improve our product value and branding,” Fast Retailing chief financial officer Takeshi Okazaki said.
Fast Retailing expects to have 2337 Uniqlo stores worldwide by the end of August, 813 of which will be in Japan.
However, the company has suffered fires at two of the Myanmar factories that make its clothes and is also facing the same consumer backlash over forced labour concerns in cotton fields in Xinjiang, China as H&M.
Fast Retailing founder Tadashi Yanai said: “Of course, we take a close interest in all factories or production of cotton. If we find such problems, we will immediately terminate our business transaction.
“But, beyond that, it becomes a political issue rather than a human rights issue. So, no comment.”