Japanese retailer Fast Retailing has shared record profits for the year ending 31 August 2023 (FY23), including record annual profits.

Revenue at Fast Retailing increased 20.2% to JPY2.77tn (US$1.85bn), up from JPY2.3tn yen in 2022, while operating profit increased 28.2% to hit JPY381bn.

Fast Retailing says that Uniqlo International generated “strong rises” in both revenue and profit across all its markets.

In FY2022, Fast Retailing also reported record high performance, with revenue rising 7.9% year-on-year to JPY2.3tn (US$15.7bn) and sales recovering steadily in all markets, and plans a mass store expansion in 2023.

The retail group says that it is “continually improving” its efforts to address labour and human rights in its supply chain by carrying out independent checks and running a hotline for workers.

In FY2023, Fast Retailing says it expanded the scope of its code of conduct to include major textile mills upstream in its supply chain, helping to ensure that regular working environment audits are carried out.

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In May 2023, Fast Retailing became the latest brand to sign the Pakistan Accord, underscoring its commitment to the protection of the health and safety of garment workers in the country.

Key results from Fast Retailing FY23

  • Uniqlo Japan reported operating profit of JPY117.8bn – up 9.2% since 2022
  • Revenue at Uniqlo International increased 28.5% to JPY1.43tn
  • Capital expenditure increased by JPY15.5bn year-on-year as the company focused on new store openings and invested in automated warehousing.

International revenue accounted for more than 50% of total revenue for the first time. It says that operations expanded in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia, as the retailer expands its customer base.

The company’s performance in China also improved in the second half of the year, entering a “renewed growth phase”. Operating profit in the region increased 25% year-on-year, despite sales struggling in the first half of the year due to Covid-19.

Revenue at Uniqlo Europe increased 49.1% to JPY191.3bn as Fast Retailing says its customer base grew in the region.

Uniqlo North America also saw revenue increase 43.7% to a total of JPY163.9bn, as Fast Retailing says it was able to maintain strong sales by holding sufficient volumes of product and providing consumers with better product information.

Fast Retailing says that it is “establishing a solid global operational base” as it invests in new store openings globally. It says that Uniqlo International is a particular focus for growth going forward.

Fast Retailing expectations for FY24

Fast Retailing says it plans to develop a “digital customer retailing industry”. It is also investing in automated warehousing.

The company says it ultimately plans to create a business model that advances sustainability while growing the business. It says: “Our aim is to create high-quality clothing that last a long time, clothing that exerts a lower impact on the planet and is made in healthy and safe working environments, and circular clothing that can be recycled or reused.”

Looking forward, Fast Retailing says it expects to achieve operating profit of JPY450bn – up 18.1% in fiscal 2024. It plans to adopt an “aggressive stance” on growth, while also “going back to basics” and focusing on its principles and management platforms.