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Fast Retailing nine-month profit jumps 18.8% to ¥441.2bn

Jul '07
Net sales rose 18.8% year on year to ¥ 441.2bln for the 9 months from September 2006 through May 2007. However, operating income at the mainstay domestic UNIQLO operation fell 4.6% over the same period. In addition, UNIQLO USA Inc, ONEZONE CORPORATION and G.U. CO. LTD. all reported an expanded loss resulting in a 5.0% fall in operating income to ¥ 59.3bln for the FAST RETAILING group as a whole.

Some key reasons for the double digit 18.8% rise in net sales over the nine months to May 2007 include, 1) existing store sales at the mainstay domestic UNIQLO operation rose 3.1%, and the newly opened, mainly large stores, also contributed positively, 2) overall net sales at the French operation increased favorably, and 3) CABIN CO. LTD., G.U. CO, LTD. were newly incorporated into the consolidated accounts.

On the income side however, consolidated gross margin in the third quarter fell 0.3% year on year. That figure was mainly influenced by the significant fall in gross margin at the domestic UNIQLO operation following the mid-term offloading of autumn/winter stock. Selling and general administrative expenses as a percentage of overall net sales worsened 3.3% due to a rise in personnel costs at UNIQLO Japan, and an increase in newly consolidated firms with high SG&A ratios.

Operating income fell in the third quarter as increased profits at our strong performing French operation and UNIQLO operations in China, Hong Kong and South Korea failed to offset the fall in profit at the Japan UNIQLO operation and losses accounted by UNIQLO in the US, our new cheaper casual wear brand G.U. and footwear retailer ONEZONE CORPORATION.

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