Japanese apparel group Fast Retailing, which owns Asia’s biggest fashion brand, Uniqlo, is seeking to draw a line under a weak fiscal year ended August. According to Refinitiv data, the company’s profit is expected to rebound around 70 per cent in the next fiscal year, as people in Japan and China, the company’s two main markets, resume shopping.
Uniqlo’s domestic same-store sales jumped by 10 per cent in August from a year earlier, thanks to its re-usable “Airism” masks and baggy pants. The brand’s emphasis on practical, daily essentials and quality-for-money proposition has positioned it well, helping it avoid major inventory mark-downs, with some spring items like light coats carrying over into the fall season without discounts.
The brand’s full recovery will rely not only on the pandemic coming under control but also on its ability to offer more than its cost-effective casual wear. Resurrection of its partnership with designer Jil Sander may help the brand achieve this.