Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing has confirmed it will quadruple its number of low-price GU clothing stores in Japan from 50 to 200 by the year 2013.

Run by subsidiary GOV Retailing, GU - so named because the initials sound like "jiyu" the Japanese word for freedom - is aiming for JPY50bn in sales by that year, which is more than six times the estimate for this fiscal year.

Spearheading the new aggressive drive for thrift sales is the chain's "recession beating jeans" which will all be sold under JPY1,000 (US$10) a piece said FR president Tadashi Yanai.

"From now on, we are planning to launch a whole series of new products at the lowest no-nonsense prices the market has ever seen," he said.

The company said prices will be kept low because clothes will be made by Cambodian factories operated by Uniqlo partner firms.

The company opened its first GU store in 2006 but the lower-priced brand has not grown as well as it hoped.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.