Japan’s Fast Retailing Co Ltd , owner of clothing chain Uniqlo, posted a 7.5 percent rise in quarterly operating profit, driven by its expanding business in Asia that offset weakness at home where a softer yen increased costs.
Overseas operating profit at its main Uniqlo division, which is known for its lightweight down jackets and HeatTech fabric technology and accounts for around four-fifths of Fast Retailing’s revenue, soared 50.7 percent in the quarter.
The result underscored Uniqlo’s growing presence in Asia, which makes up 80 percent of its foreign sales.
Fast Retailing, founded by Tadashi Yanai, one of Japan’s richest men, is overhauling its supply chain as it looks to reduce inventory losses and boost its e-commerce offering, which lags behind peers.
The company, which has said it aims to eventually overtake Zara-owner Inditex to become the world’s biggest apparel retailer, has constructed a combined logistics centre and office space in Tokyo which brings together staff from departments including marketing and e-commerce.
“The domestic apparel industry is facing tough times and cannot expect growing sales,” Chief Financial Officer Takeshi Okazaki said.
“E-commerce will be our growth driver,” he said, adding that while Uniqlo was good at bringing customers to its physical locations, the company had to do more to drive traffic to its online site. In the last quarter e-commerce accounted for 6.2 percent of total sales.