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Fast Retailing fiscal H1 net profit jumps 106.7%

Japanese apparel retail giant Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. saw both revenue and profit grow in the first half of fiscal 2017, ended Feb. 28.

Net profit attributable to owners of the parent was ¥97.23 billion, up 106.7% from ¥47.04 billion a year ago. Basic EPS came in at ¥953.55, compared with ¥461.43 in the previous year.

Operating profit grew 31.5% year over year to ¥130.66 billion from ¥99.34 billion in the year-ago period, following a ¥15.4 billion foreign exchange gain.

For the fiscal first half, revenue increased 0.6% year over year to ¥1.018 trillion from ¥1.012 trillion.

The group's major brand, Uniqlo, saw revenue in Japan grow 0.3% to ¥455.1 billion from ¥453.6 billion a year ago while operating profit jumped 7.3% to ¥68.7 billion from ¥64.1 billion. Same-store sales in the country expanded 0.1%.

In Uniqlo's international markets, revenue for the six-month period was ¥392.8 billion, up 0.9% from ¥389.2 billion a year ago. Operating profit increased 65.9% year over year to ¥48.7 billion from ¥29.4 billion.

The apparel chain performed "especially well" in mainland China and Southeast Asia and recorded "a large contraction" in operating losses in the U.S., Fast Retailing said.

As for the group's other global brands, revenue was ¥168.1 billion during the fiscal first half, growing 0.5% from ¥167.3 billion. Meanwhile, operating profit fell 29.7% to ¥10.0 billion, from ¥14.3 billion in the year-ago period, which was attributed to a decline in profit from Fast Retailing's low-cost brand, GU.

Fast Retailing also reiterated its guidance for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31. It expects profit attributable to owners of the parent to grow 108.1% to ¥100.0 billion, operating profit to jump 37.5% to ¥175.0 billion and consolidated revenue to increase 3.6% to ¥1.850 trillion.

The company expects basic EPS for fiscal 2017 to rise to ¥980.74. The S&P Capital IQ consensus GAAP EPS estimate for the fiscal year is ¥1,095.48.

Fast Retailing also expects Uniqlo Japan to have same-store sales expand approximately 1.8% year over year for fiscal 2017 and for Uniqlo International to report "strong" profit gains, with Greater China and Southeast Asia as key drivers of growth.

The group expects profit from its GU brand to rise in the second half but contract for the full fiscal year.

In terms of store numbers, Fast Retailing forecasts that its network will expand to a total of 3,316 stores by the end of August, comprising 837 Uniqlo Japan stores, 1,104 Uniqlo International stores and 1,375 global brands stores.

In addition, the company scheduled an annual dividend for fiscal 2017 of ¥350, divided into an interim dividend of ¥175 and a year-end dividend of ¥175 per share.

As of April 13, US$1 was equivalent to ¥109.23.