Three years after Fast Retailing (the Japanese company behind the Uniqlo brand of casual clothes) downsized its store operations in Britain, it said is now ready to expand again.

A spokeswoman for the company said there were no concrete plans as yet but said that it was vital for Fast Retailing to establish factories for the EU and the US other than China to improve its supply chains.

Currently, most of Uniqlo's clothes are made in China. Fast Retailing closed 16 locations in the UK in 2003 and posted extraordinary losses of JPY14.2bn yen.

By Michael Fitzpatrick