* Biggest monthly year-on-year gain in 10 months
* Comes as other retailers continue to suffer weak sales
* Overseas expansion needed to boost share price:fund manager
(Adds fund manager comments)
By Taiga Uranaka
TOKYO, Oct 2 Japan's Fast Retailing (9983.T) said
on Friday that same-store sales at its Uniqlo casual-clothing
chain in Japan jumped 31.6 percent from a year earlier in
September, marking the biggest monthly gain in 10 months.
The fashion retailer's strong sales came amid prolonged weak
consumer spending, which has hit department stores and
The company said the onset of cold weather in the month
helped drive up sales of autumn items such as synthetic leather
jackets and flannel shirts. A five-day weekend also helped
increase customer traffic, it said.
Despite the robust performance, Fast Retailing needs to show
the market its growth plan beyond its domestic Uniqlo business to
boost its share price from its current range, said Naoki
Fujiwara, a fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.
"Basically, the domestic Uniqlo business is not a growth
area," he said. "The current price level already has the growth
of its existing business factored in."
Fast Retailing said last month that it aimed to boost annual
sales more than seven-fold to 5 trillion yen ($56 billion) by
2020 as it continues to seek acquisitions and overseas expansion.
The company, which is scheduled to announce its full-year
results on Thursday, has forecast a 23 percent increase in
operating profit for the year ended in August.
During the same period, same-store sales at about 640 Uniqlo
outlets in Japan rose 11.3 percent.
Fast Retailing's brisk sales are in stark contrast with other
retailers in the country.
Shares of Japan's top department store chains fell sharply on
Friday after they reported a decline in September sales, with
industry leader Isetan Mitsukoshi's (3099.T) Isetan chain posting
a 10.9 percent fall. Isetan Mitsukoshi shares ended down 4.9
percent at 970 yen.
Prior to the announcement, shares of Fast Retailing fell 1
percent to 11,780 yen, outperforming a 2.3 percent decline in the
Tokyo stock exchange's retail subindex .IRETL.T.
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Joseph Radford)