Fast Retailing Cuts Profit Forecast Amid Waning Demand in Japan

Uniqlo's Nanjing Road West Store in Shanghai | Source: Fast Retailing

TOKYO, Japan — Fast Retailing Co., Asia’s biggest clothing retailer, cut its forecast for annual profit amid slowing demand for the company’s casual clothing in Japan.

Net income will be about 88 billion yen ($865 million) for the year ending August, lower than its previous forecast of 92 billion yen, the Yamaguchi, Japan-based company said today. That compares with a 94.5 billion yen average of 19 analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Billionaire Tadashi Yanai’s casual clothing retailer faces intensifying competition from Inditex SA and Hennes & Mauritz AB as the global fast-fashion chains expand in China’s less developed regions. Yanai has said he intends to increase outlets in China to 1,000 from the current 267.

Same-store sales for the domestic Uniqlo business rose 2.2 percent for the 6 months ended February, slower than 3.6 percent growth a year earlier, according to a statement from the company. Sales dropped as much as 14 percent in October, when typhoons in Japan curtailed retail traffic.

By Yuki Yamaguchi; Editors: Stephanie Wong, Dave McCombs