Uniqlo operator boosts quarterly profit in strategy shift

TOKYO Thu Jan 9, 2014 1:17am EST

TOKYO Jan 9 (Reuters) - Japan's Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing store chain, on Thursday reported a jump in quarterly profit after shifting its strategy to lure shoppers to spend more at its stores, in part by offering higher-end goods such as cashmere sweaters.

Operating profit in its first fiscal quarter to end-November rose 13 percent to 64.0 billion yen ($610.48 million), surpassing the 59.9 billion yen forecast of four analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Fast Retailing boosted spending per customer at its existing Uniqlo stores in Japan in the quarter, changing tack after discounting that sought to increase customer traffic but weighed on margins.

The company left its operating profit target for the full year to end-August unchanged at 156 billion yen, a gain of 17.4 percent. That is in line with analysts' average estimate of 155.36 billion yen. ($1 = 104.8350 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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