Japanese fashion group Fast Retailing has told just-style it is sending 1,200 store manager candidates abroad by mid-2013 as part of a massive overseas expansion.

Executives will be sent to special Fast Retailing academies set up in the US and Europe from Sept 2012 to prepare for the new openings, a spokesman for the company said.

It compares to 300 managers sent abroad after training in Japan this fiscal year.

With domestic demand down and profits sinking, Fast Retailing CEO Tadashi Yanai is looking to increase the company's overseas sales ratio to more than 50% in five years, from about 10% now.

"Opening new stores outside of Japan is important, but training our employees is even more important," Yanai told investors and analysts in October. He said he wants 4,000 stores by 2020, expanding in overseas markets including China and Southeast Asia.

The company has already started sending some workers abroad with Yanai declaring 2010 "The year of the massive exodus of people."