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g.u. apparel brand sales up at FAST RETAILING
25
Jul '09
FAST RETAILING recorded a significant increase in both revenue and income over the nine months to May 2009 with net sales rising 17.2% year on year to ¥ 537.0bln and operating income rising 28.3% year on year to ¥ 97.1bln.

Our mainstay UNIQLO Japan operation exceeded our plan in the three months to May 2009 achieving a strong 15.4% rise in same store sales over the period. A strong sales performance at our Shinjuku West Exit Store also contributed to the operation's significant rise in both revenue and income. We achieved a profit at our UNIQLO International operation as sales expanded favorably in the Asian region including Mainland China and South Korea, and losses at our UK operation shrank considerably. Sales at our first store opened recently in Singapore have proved very successful outstripping all expectations.

Profitability improved at our Japan Apparel segment with g.u. sales expanding significantly on the back of the launch of our ¥ 990 jeans series. At the same time however, we have decided to vastly reduce our FOOTPARK footwear retailing operation, closing approximately 200 stores to leave 10 stores by the end of January 2010. In view of these store closures, we have accounted a special loss of approximately ¥ 2.5bln in the third quarter to May. We are in the process of building our new footwear business going forward as the FAST RETAILING group including our existing VIEW footwear operation. We have revised up our business forecasts for the Japan Apparel segment for the full business year to reflect the recent strength in our low-cost g.u. brand. We are expecting the segment's loss to be significantly reduced compared to the previous year.

At our Global brands operation, business at our French-based subsidiaries COMPTOIR DES COTONNIERS and PRINCESSE TAM.TAM proceeding according to plan. Our former equity method affiliate LINK THEORY HOLDINGS was fully consolidated from this third quarter.

We have revised up our consolidated business forecasts for the full year to end August 2009 with net sales now seen rising 16.3% year on year to ¥ 682.0bln, operating income now seen increasing by 23.4% year on year to ¥ 108.0bln, net income seen up 19.5% at ¥ 52.0bln and our profit per share rising to 510.55 yen.

We have also increased our estimated 75 yen year-end dividend by 10 yen to 85 yen. Adding this to the 75 yen per share interim dividend payout generates an annual estimated dividend per share of 160 yen.

UNIQLO Japan
Our mainstay UNIQLO Japan operation, which constitutes approximately 80% of total consolidated sales, outstripped its targets in the three months from March to May to achieve significant increases in both revenue and income. Same stores sales leapt 15.4% year on year, and sales from new stores such as our Shinjuku West Exit store contributed considerably to the 22.8% year-on-year increase in overall UNIQLO Japan net sales. Our store opening and closure plansproceeded as expected generating a total number of 757 direct-run stores (777 including franchises) at the end of May 2009. That is a net increase of 16 stores.

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