UPDATE 3-Fast Retailing sees record profit on Uniqlo boom

jueves 8 de octubre de 2009 10:42 CEST

* Sees operating profit rising 10.5% to Y120 bln in 2009/10

* 2008/09 annual profit rises 24% to record Y108.6 bln

* Uniqlo stands out in struggling retail sector

* Shares close down 2.2 pct ahead of earnings announcement (Updates with company comment, adds analyst comment)

By Taiga Uranaka

TOKYO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Japan's Fast Retailing (9983.T: Cotización) forecast a 10.5 percent rise in operating profit this financial year as its Uniqlo casual clothing chain draws cost-conscious consumers away from local and international rivals.

While most of Japan's retail industry is still reeling from a slump in consumer spending that shows little sign of abating amid rising job losses, Uniqlo has attracted customers with hit products such as underwear using heat-trapping fabric.

Seven & I Holdings (3382.T: Cotización), Japan's largest retailer, posted a sharp drop in its first-half earnings last week, while second-ranked Aeon Co Ltd (8267.T: Cotización) fell into the red. [ID:nT176719] [ID:nT68K3OBS9]

Fast Retailing is looking to expand rapidly in China and other overseas markets, a move that will mean tougher competition for Gap Inc (GPS.N: Cotización) of the United States, Spain's Inditex (ITX.MC: Cotización) and Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz (HMb.ST: Cotización).   Continuación...