On January 11th, Fast Retailing, the Japanese fast fashion giant and parent company of Uniqlo, announced its first-quarter results for the fiscal year 2024 ending November 30, 2023. Boosted by strong overseas sales, the group’s revenue increased by 13.2% to 810.833 billion yen, setting a historical record for the third consecutive year. The first quarter operating profit grew by 25.3% to 146.686 billion yen, surpassing the average estimate of 137.9 billion yen forecasted by five analysts surveyed by LSEG.
In an interview with Reuters, Takeshi Okazaki, the CFO of Fast Retailing, mentioned that after more than two years of slowdown due to strict pandemic policies, business in China, the group’s largest overseas market, regained momentum in the fiscal year 2023. However, Chinese consumers have become more selective in terms of products and prices. Despite this, he remains “not at all pessimistic” about the market’s prospects, expecting strong growth in sales and profits.
Fast Retailing also stated that both revenue and profits increased in Uniqlo’s Japanese business and all international operations, with substantial growth in international business. The GU brand also generated considerable revenue and profits, with “first-half performance almost entirely in line with our plan, so we expect to meet our business forecasts.”
The group has redoubled its efforts in the North American market, where last year’s revenue almost doubled. Fast Retailing plans to open 20 new stores in the United States and Canada in 2024, bringing the total to 72.
Fast Retailing expects to hit a new profit high in fiscal 2024, but climate change-induced temperature anomalies pose a challenge for a company known for its seasonal products. Okazaki commented, “In China, and the same in Japan, there’s been a pattern of dramatic fluctuations in temperatures this year, so a fundamental question is how to structure the product line-up.” Analyst Mark Chadwick noted that 2023 was the hottest year on record, with exceptionally warm weather from September to December indicating a “slow start to the fiscal year.”
In October 2023, Fast Retailing had announced plans to open 80 new stores annually in the Greater China area, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. The group currently has 931 Uniqlo stores in mainland China, even surpassing the number in Japan.
Following the earnings release, Fast Retailing’s stock price rose 2.32% to 36,620 yen per share at the close of January 11th, with a latest market value of 11.94 trillion yen.
| Source: Fast Retailing Group official website and official financial reports, Reuters
| Image Credit: Fast Retailing Group official website
丨 Reporter：Wang Jiaqi
| Editor: LeZhi