Uniqlo International sales expand 68.8% in H1 FY'12
UNIQLO International generated significant gains in both sales and income in the first half with sales expanding an impressive 68.8% year on year to ¥ 84.8bln and operating income rising 45.1% to ¥ 11.4bln. Performance was particularly strong in the Asian region of China and Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.
Over the six months from September 2011 through February 2012, 55 stores were opened predominately in these Asian nations and two stores were closed, bringing the total number of UNIQLO International stores to 234 by the end of February 2012. In addition, the successive opening of global flagship stores on New York Fifth Avenue, in Myeongdong, Seoul and Taipei, Taiwan in the first half dramatically enhanced the visibility of the UNIQLO brand worldwide.
UNIQLO operations in Asia performed especially well in the first half with the China, Hong Kong and Taiwan region generating sales and income growth significantly above target. The UNIQLO operation in South Korea also exceeded expectations as the new global flagship boosted recognition of the UNIQLO brand, and TV commercials featuring Ultra Light Down and HEATTECH products also fuelled further double-digit gains in same-store sales.
UNIQLO operations in Singapore and Malaysia performed favorably and to plan. Following the opening of its first store in September 2011, UNIQLO Thailand had expanded to three stores by the end of February 2012, and the operation was generating strong sales.
UNIQLO International plans to swiftly accelerate the pace of new store openings in Greater China from 32 stores in fiscal 2011 to 80 stores in fiscal 2012. The first UNIQLO store is scheduled to open in the Philippines in June 2012. UNIQLO International is also investigating the possibility of opening stores in other new markets starting with Indonesia, Australia and Vietnam.
Conversely, despite favorable sales at its New York Fifth Avenue Store, UNIQLO America reported a loss in the first half as sales at the New York 34th Street Store fell short of target and the operation had to absorb costs related to the opening of new flagship store. UNIQLO France performed to plan with sales at the Paris Opera Store continuing to rise. The U.K. UNIQLO operation reported falling profits as both sales and income fell below target. UNIQLO Russia turned a profit in the first half thanks to improvements in the operation's profitability.
Regarding future expansion plans in the United States and Europe, we will seek to establish a presence on the U.S. West Coast by opening a flagship store in San Francisco, California in fall 2012. At the same time, we plan to open a store in shopping mall in New Jersey. In the mid-term, we will be looking to open between 20 and 30 stores in central and suburban New York and between 20 and 30 stores on the West Coast in and around the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. In Europe, in addition to London and Paris, we are also looking to open new stores in other major cities such as Berlin, Milan and Barcelona.
In fiscal 2012, UNIQLO International is expected to generate full-year sales of ¥ 160.0bln (up 70.7% year on year) and operating income of ¥ 17.0bln (up 89.9%).
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