The operator of Japan’s cheap chic clothing chain Uniqlo said Wednesday it suffered its first profit fall in four years due to rising costs and weak domestic sales, which it blamed partly on poor weather. Fast Retailing said its group net profit fell 11.9% to 54.4 billion yen for the fiscal year ending in August, its first net profit decline in four business years.
Sales inched up 0.7% to 820.3 billion yen, showing little impact from the devastation wrought by the country’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The company said it expects net profit to grow about 30% to 71 billion yen in the current fiscal year ending in August 2012 with a 17.6% uptick in sales to 965 billion yen, as it moves to speed up openings of new stores overseas.
On Friday, the company is throwing open the doors to its biggest-ever Uniqlo outlet on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
Uniqlo’s operator is aiming to open between 200 and 300 stores per year worldwide to boost its global presence and compete with bigger rivals such as clothing giant Gap and Spain’s Zara
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