• H1 net profit up 38.7% 
  • Sales up 14.9% to JPY525.5bn 
  • Operating profit up 11.8%

Japanese fashion retail giant Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo brand, has today (12 April) posted a 38.7% surge in first-half net profit after cold weather in Japan during December helped lift sales of winter clothing.

Net income for the six months to the end of February reached JPY57.7bn (US$712.3m). Operating profit was up 11.8% to JPY91.7bn. Net sales increased 14.9% to JPY525.5bn.

Operating income for Uniqlo Japan climbed 2.7% year-on-year in the first half to reach JPY72.2bn. Net sales jumped 6.6% to JPY364.5bn, while same-store sales increased 2.3%. Sales of core winter items proved "strong" because the weather turned cold in December.

A recovery in sales, along with strictly controlled discounting and effective cost-cutting measures in the Japanese division, helped reverse the downward trend in profit in the first quarter, the company said.

Sales for Uniqlo International reached JPY84.8bn, up 68.8% on last year. Operating income increased 45.1% to JPY11.4bn.

Uniqlo International plans to accelerate new store openings in Greater China from 32 stores last year to 80 stores this year. The first store is also scheduled to open in the Philippines in June. It is also eyeing other new markets like Indonesia, Australia and Vietnam.

The Global Brands division saw sales rise 17.4% year-on-year to JPY74.8bn and operating income soared 53% to JPY7.9bn.

The company expects consolidated income to rise 49.9% to JPY81.5bn in fiscal 2012. Consolidated sales are set to increase 14.8% to JPY941.5bn, while operating income is expected to rise 18.6% to JPY138bn.