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T-shirts are displayed at Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo July 11, 2013. Asia's biggest retailer Fast Retailing Co Ltd left its profit forecast for the year to August unchanged as regular discounts at its Japan-based Uniqlo stores cut average customer spending, undermining strong sales growth.
T-shirts are displayed at Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo July 11, 2013. Asia's biggest retailer Fast Retailing Co Ltd left its profit forecast for the year to August unchanged as regular discounts at its Japan-based Uniqlo stores cut average customer spending, undermining strong sales growth.
(Toru Hanai/Reuters)

FINANCIAL TIMES

Uniqlo’s waistline grows faster than its wallet

Lex is a premium daily commentary service from the Financial Times. It helps readers make better investment decisions by highlighting key emerging risks and opportunities.

What’s in a name? Fast Retailing would have you believe a lot. The Japanese company behind the Uniqlo brand – famed for its simple clothes and also the sponsor of tennis star Novak Djokovic – is expanding as though fashion is, er, going out of fashion. It is adding 200 stores in Asia every year, half of which will be in China, and plans to raise this target to 400 stores in the future. Last week, it became the first global clothes retailer to open stores in Bangladesh. Shoppers there can pick up a T-shirt for as little as 195 Bangladeshi taka ($3). But is Fast Retailing getting ahead of itself?