East winds from Japan's Fast Retailing cheered the
FashionUnited Top 100 Index, which continued climbing up Thursday with a final gain of 3 points, closing the trading session in 1,240.4.
The Japanese fashion group Japan's Fast Retailing, said first-quarter operating profit fell 18.4 percent but kept its profit forecast intact for the year to August, confident it could withstand rising costs while it grapples with sluggish sales in its home market. The operator of Uniqlo stores saw a jump in profit growth at the budget fashion chain's overseas outlets, still a small contributor to overall earnings but key to its expansion strategy as it aims to become the world's largest casual clothing retailer.
The Uniqlo chain, often compared with U.S.-based Gap Inc, stumbled in Japan last year following a spurt that started in late 2008, when it lured downturn-weary consumers with a line-up of budget fashions and heat-trapping underwear. Fast Retailing said on Thursday that its September-November operating profit fell to 49.85 billion yen ($600.3 million), reflecting a 12.3 percent drop in same-store sales at Uniqlo outlets in Japan. But the company is doing better than some investors had expected, said to Reuters Fujio Ando, an adviser at Chibagin Asset Management. "We've heard a series of negative news about Fast Retailing but as it turns out their operating profit in the quarter was well over 40 percent of their full-year target," he said.