Japan's leading casual-wear retailer and owner of the famous Uniqlo brand, Fast Retailing Co Ltd, on Tuesday revealed a 36 per cent plunge in February same-store sales, compared to the year-ago period.

Miwa Nagai of Fast Retailing's investor relations department said the slide, which followed a 35.2 per cent year-on-year decline in January, was "slightly below our expectations".

For the first half of fiscal 2002, same-store sales dropped 20.9 per cent from a year earlier and sales at 538 directly run stores and direct marketing fell 5.6 per cent.

The firm, which in January slashed its net profit forecast for the full year by a third to 45 billion yen, added it expects a parent net profit of 24 billion yen for the first half.