Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing Co. has teamed up with Daifuku — a material handling systems provider — to automate its warehouse and distribution system, which it has invested JPY100bn (US$885m) in.

The revamp of the logistics operation will result in a “90% saving in human resources” and allow a 24hr operation, a spokesperson for the group confirmed to just-style today (10 October).

In a press release issued by Fast Retailing, the company says Daifuku will develop and build “the world’s most advanced automation facilities with the aim of full automation of Fast Retailing Group brand warehouses in Japan and overseas”.

The two will form a “special team” to plan, implement and maintain the brand warehouses in Japan and overseas.

They will “pursue a comprehensive set of measures encompassing all processes” for the introduction of automation facilities, including design, devices, procurement of materials and specialised staff, construction, and trial operation, with the aim of achieving the introduction of automation in the shortest possible timeframe.

Fast Retailing adds it is eyeing JPY3trn (US$26.5bn) in sales for the 2020 business year.

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Earlier this year, it reported a rise in revenue of 15.3% to JPY1.7trn (US$15.11bn) compared to the nine-month period a year before, boosted by strong sales growth from the Uniqlo brand both at home and abroad. Earnings were up 23.5% year-on-year to JPY148.3bn.