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Dow Jones Newswires: Fast Retailing shares rise sharply after Uniqlo owner delivers strong first-half results

Fast Retailing Co.

shares rose sharply Friday after the Uniqlo owner delivered strong first-quarter results and raised its fiscal-year net profit guidance.

The shares were recently 6.5% higher at JPY63,450 after rising as much as 6.9% earlier, sharply outperforming the broader market. The Nikkei Stock Average was recently 0.1% lower.

Fast Retailing’s first-half net profit rose 39% compared with the same period a year earlier to 146.84 billion yen ($1.17 billion) for the six months ended Feb. 28.

The company raised its net-profit forecast for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, citing a weaker yen. It now expects net profit to rise 12% to Y190.00 billion, compared with its previous view for a 3.0% increase.

Nomura analyst Hisahiro Yamaoka said in a research note that the results showed the limiting of discounts was helping Uniqlo’s margins in Japan and that operations in the U.S. and Europe were contributing more to overall earnings.

Uniqlo’s first-half revenue for North America and Europe rose 48% from a year earlier to Y149.60 billion, leading the overall revenue gains. The company said it planned to significantly boost its presence in North America, bringing the number of Uniqlo stores to 200 in five years, compared with 43 stores in the U.S. and 14 stores in Canada currently.

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