Fast Retailing profit surges, raises full-year guidance

Tokyo -- Japan’s Fast Retailing Co., parent of Uniqlo, reported Thursday that its net profit for the Sept.-Feb. period surged 38.7% to $705 million as an usually cold weather bolstered sales at Japan stores. Same-store sales in the period rose 2.3%.

The company lifted its full-year profit forecast to $1.7 billion from a previously announced $1.6 billion for the fiscal year ending in August, surpassing analysts’ projections.

Revenues at Uniqlo overseas locations surged 45% in the first half, thanks to strong sales growth in China and Hong Kong, and 53 more outlets overseas than the previous year.

Fast Retailing is looking to open 200 to 300 new Uniqlo stores annually, most of them in Asia outside Japan. The company has already announced plans to open a flagship store in San Francisco, as part of an expansion program that calls for 20-30 stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles, matched by another 20-30 stores in New York City, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the chain also said its operations in the United States were in the red for the six-month period due to opening costs and weaker-than-expected performance at its location on New York's 34th Street.