TOKYO, July 11 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
The company's latest 2012/13 operating profit forecast of
147.5 billion yen ($1.5 billion), which would be up 16.6 percent
on the year before, was last raised in January.
Fast Retailing held the guidance steady in April despite
signs the economy was picking up under Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe's reflationary policies. The company derives the bulk of its
earnings from its Uniqlo stores in Japan.
The forecast is in line with an average of 149.7 billion yen
expected by 19 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Although gains in the stock market have spurred spending on
luxury items and boosted earnings at Japan's high-end department
stores, results at mass retailers have yet to show a marked
increase in broader consumer sentiment and demand.
Fast Retailing also said on Thursday that its operating
profit rose 4 percent in the nine months to end-May to 124
Shares of Fast Retailing have jumped 77 percent in the year
to date, nearly double the roughly 40 percent rise in Tokyo's
benchmark Nikkei average.
Prior to Thursday's announcement, Fast Retailing shares
ended 1.8 percent higher at 38,700 yen, against a 0.4 percent
rise in the Nikkei.
($1 = 100.1050 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Sophie Knight; Editing by Miral Fahmy)