The numbers: Fast Retailing, the Japanese parent of fast fashion chains Uniqlo and Theory, posted group profit of ¥65.45 billion (about $650 million) for the first half of fiscal 2013. That’s up 13.2% from the same period last fiscal year. Total sales rose 17% to ¥614.84 billion, and Uniqlo sales outside Japan surged 54% to ¥130.6 billion. The company also raised its full-year forecasts, upping its sales number to ¥1.103 trillion. Its full-year profit forecast rose to ¥91.5 billion.
The takeaway: Asian nations are driving the sales surge with the company spotlighting the “especially strong performance” of stores in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea. The company is pouring investment into these markets, saying it pursued “particularly aggressive new store openings in the Asian region.” The company is about to open its largest flagship store in Shanghai.
What’s interesting: The frosty Asian winter clearly drove consumers toward’s Uniqlo’s fleece and Heattech garments. So much so that the company had trouble keeping production in line with demand. “The first-quarter boom in Uniqlo fleece and Heattech sales resulted in some stock shortages. Consequently, this led to a slowdown in sales from December, and a slight contraction in same-store sales in the second quarter from December 2012 through February 2013,” the company said in its earnings release.