Casual clothing store operator Fast Retailing Co on Tuesday posted a 9.1 per cent jump in October same-store sales, its biggest monthly rise since summer 2001.

The Tokyo-based company, which runs the popular Uniqlo clothing stores in Japan and Britain, has attributed the growth to strong sales of its newly-launched cashmere knitwear line.

In August, Fast Retailing's same-store sales increased 6.7 per cent from a year earlier for the first time in 23 months, but then fell 11.4 per cent in September.

Weak earnings were reported for the year to August 31, with group net profit slipping 25 per cent to Y20.93 billion on a 10 per cent fall in group sales to Y309.79 billion.

The company last month boosted its women's and children's clothing lines and tightened inventory controls. It reported a 3.1 per cent rise in customer numbers and 5.8 per cent increase in average customer spending for October.

It is now predicting a turnaround in 2003/2004, with profits projected to rise 57 per cent to Y32.92 billion.