• Fast Retailing has posted revenue and profit gains that exceeded its expectations in the first quarter.
  • The Uniqlo parent company has reiterated its full-year guidance and expects consolidated revenue to total JPY2.05trn.
  • Uniqlo International revenue overtook that of the brand's Japanese operations for the first time in Q1.
Net profit increased 12.7% in the first quarter to JPY75.8bn (US$142.1m)

Net profit increased 12.7% in the first quarter to JPY75.8bn (US$142.1m)

Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing has reiterated its full-year guidance as first-quarter revenue and profit gains exceeded its expectations and Uniqlo International revenue overtook that of the brand's Japanese operations for the first time.

For the three months ended 30 November, the company reported a net profit of JPY78.5bn (US$703.8m), up 12.7% from JPY69.6bn a year earlier, with consolidated revenue rising 16.7% to JPY617bn.

The company said a JPY3.9bn foreign exchange gain under finance income contributed to both net and pre-tax profits, the latter of which was up 13.1% to JPY117.8bn.

Uniqlo Japan generated a profit gain that far exceeded company expectations on a buoyant autumn/winter, which saw strong sales boost both earnings and revenue in the period. Sales were up 7.6% to JPY257bn, while operating profit jumped 18.6% to JPY54.1bn and same-store sale rose 8.4% year-on-year. Fast Retailing said demand for HeatTech, down, sweat wear and merino sweater ranges supported strong overall first-quarter sales, while the extremely popular November Uniqlo anniversary sale generated the highest level of monthly sales on record.

Uniqlo International, meanwhile, reported a higher-than-forecast sharp profit gain, and saw revenue overtake Uniqlo Japan for the first time with a 31.4% rise to JPY258.2bn. Operating profit jumped 54.7% to JPY46.6bn. Fast Retailing said Uniqlo operations in Greater China, South Korea, and Southeast Asia and Oceania all generated further sharp gains in both revenue and profit, while Uniqlo USA also posted a profit in the first quarter.

Global Brands reported a 13.8% gain in revenue, expanding to JPY40bn, as operating profit jumped 10.4% year-on-year to JPY3bn. The company's low-priced GU casual fashion brand saw a 5.6% rise in revenue to JPY60.8bn, as operating profit increased 31.8% to JPY9bn, but same-store sales dipped owing to what Fast Retailing said was a "distinct lack" of the type of warm clothing ranges that consumers were looking for.

Meanwhile, Theory revenue and profit was up, while the company said its Comptoir des Cotonniers operation fell short of its plan to report a decline in profits.

The company's FY2018 forecast remains unchanged from initial estimates, with consolidated revenue expected to total JPY2.05trn, consolidated operating profit at JPY200bn, and net profit at JPY120bn. It is forecasting an annual dividend per share of JPY350 for the year.