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Uniqlo operator posts record annual profit despite China slump

(Source: Reuters)

Japan’s Fast Retailing Co, owner of clothing brand Uniqlo, reported a record full-year profit on Thursday despite a continuing slump in China, its biggest overseas market.

Operating profit was 297.3 billion yen ($2.02 billion) in the 12 months through August compared with 249 billion yen a year earlier. That surpassed the company’s guidance and the consensus forecast of 291 billion yen, according to the average of 12 analyst estimates from Refinitiv.

The company’s previous operating profit record was $1.8 billion in the year ended in August 2019.

International operations drove growth, with the North America segment moving into the black and revenue from the region going up in value when repatriated into yen, which has been trading around a 24-year low against the dollar.

Fast Retailing saw a slight increase in sales in mainland China for the year while operating profit slid 17 per cent amid stringent Covid-19-related controls. Sales picked up in the region from the fourth quarter as the curbs were eased, the company said.

Profit will rise to $2.38 billion next fiscal year, the company forecast.

Fast Retailing’s shares are up 21 per cent this year, compared with an 8.9 per cent drop in the benchmark Nikkei average.

  • Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Edmund Klamann

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