Stellar Uniqlo sales lift
Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo has posted a strong performance for the first half of this year.
Sales are up 68.8 per cent to ¥84.8 billion (US$1.04 billion) and profit up 45.1 per cent to ¥11.4 billion (US$140.52 million).
The fast fashion giant’s performance was particularly strong in the Asian region with China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea leading the way.
During the six months to February 2012, 55 stores were opened predominately in these Asian nations and two were closed, taking the total Uniqlo international store count to 234.
In addition, the successive opening of global flagship stores on New York Fifth Avenue, in Myeongdong, Seoul and Taipei, Taiwan in the first half dramatically enhanced the visibility of the Uniqlo brand worldwide.
Uniqlo operations in Asia performed especially well in the first half with the China, Hong Kong and Taiwan region generating sales and income growth significantly above target. The Uniqlo operation in South Korea also exceeded expectations as the new global flagship boosted recognition of the Uniqlo brand, and TV commercials featuring Ultra Light Down and Heattach products also fuelled further double-digit gains in same-store sales.
Uniqlo operations in Singapore and Malaysia performed favorably and to plan and, following the opening of its first Thai store in September 2011, Uniqlo Thailand had expanded to three stores by the end of February, and was generating strong sales.
Uniqlo plans to swiftly accelerate the pace of new store openings in Greater China from 32 stores in fiscal 2011 to 80 stores in fiscal 2012. And the first Uniqlo store is scheduled to open in the Philippines in June.
Uniqlo is also looking to open stores in other new markets starting with Indonesia, Australia and Vietnam.
Conversely, despite favorable sales at its New York Fifth Avenue Store, Uniqlo America reported a loss in the first half as sales at the New York 34th Street store fell short of target and the operation had to absorb costs related to the opening of new flagship store.
Uniqlo will seek to establish a presence on the US West Coast by opening a flagship store in San Francisco, California in fall 2012. At the same time, it also plans to open in a shopping mall in New Jersey.
In the mid-term, Uniqlo will be looking to open between 20 and 30 stores in central and suburban New York and between 20 and 30 stores on the West Coast in and around the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In Europe, Uniqlo France performed to plan with sales at the Paris Opera store continuing to rise. The UK Uniqlo operation reported falling profits as both sales and income fell below target. Future plans will see new stores in other European cities such as Berlin, Milan and Barcelona. Uniqlo Russia turned a profit in the first half.
In fiscal 2012, Uniqlo expects to generate full-year sales growth of up to 70.7 per cent to ¥160 billion (US$1.97 billion) and operating income growth of up to 89.9 per cent to ¥17 billion (US$209.56 million).