Coming off a healthy season of sales, UNIQLO parent company Fast Retailing has announced relatively optimistic results for its first financial bulletin of fiscal year 2021. Comprising the three months ending November 2020, the report details minimal decline in profit and sales, bolstered by rising operating profit.

Still feeling the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Fast Retailing’s sales fell 0.6 percent while net profit dropped 0.7 percent to just over ¥70 billion JPY (approximately $677 million USD). These minor declines were somewhat offset by soaring operating profits, which ballooned by 23.3 percent (¥113 billion JPY or approximately $1.08 billion USD) in the first quarter. Still, the year-on-year decline was an imposing 7.2 percent; a ¥260 billion JPY (approximately $2.5 billion USD) dip.

Key to that elevated profit was a variety of strong product offerings courtesy of Fast Retailing’s crown jewel, UNIQLO. These included new collections from UNIQLO U, J.W. Anderson and Jil Sander’s revived +J.

“We enjoyed strong sales of products such as loungewear and HEATTECH blankets that fulfilled customer demand for stay-at-home items,” Fast Retailing explained in its statement. “Our Ultra Stretch Active Pants … haori-style jackets, Smart Ankle Pants, and other Fall Winter ranges also sold well.”

“Our +J collection with designer Ms. Jil Sander, our collaborative Peanuts products, and AIRism masks also contributed to the rise in sales,” it continued. “E-commerce sales expanded strongly, with online sales rising to ¥36.7 billion JPY (+48.3% [approximately $353 million USD]) in the first quarter.”

Fast Retailing reported a rise in revenue for its most affordable imprint, GU, contrasted against down-trending income for its other labels, including Theory and Comptoir des Cotonniers. Nevertheless, it remains optimistic for the remainder of 2021, projecting the same expectations as its prior report: an over 82 percent jump in net profit to ¥165 billion JPY (approximately $1.59 USD).

This declaration follows the expected news that COVID-19 has heightened online shopping and even boosted the coffers of some luxury labels, including Prada.

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