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Fast Retailing Shares Fall After Uniqlo Sales Decline

Fast Retailing Co., Asia’s largest listed clothing retailer, fell the most in four weeks in Tokyo trading after its Uniqlo chain posted the biggest drop in monthly domestic sales in more than seven years.

Fast Retailing declined 1.8 percent to 11,560 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, as of 9:12 a.m., after earlier today dropping 2.7 percent, the most since Sept. 8. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 0.5 percent.

Sales at Uniqlo stores open at least a year in Japan plunged 24.7 percent in September from a year earlier, the Yamaguchi, Japan-based retailer said yesterday. That’s the biggest decline since February 2003, according to company data.

Demand for jackets, long-sleeved shirts and other autumn apparel was “weak” last month because of the hot weather, said Daisuke Hase, a company spokesman. The average temperature in Tokyo was 25.1 degrees Celsius (77.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in September, 1.6 degrees hotter than the seasonal norm, Japan’s weather agency said on its website.

Uniqlo’s same-store sales surged 32 percent in September last year.

Apparel retailer Point Inc. and Japan’s second-largest department-store operator J. Front Retailing Co. also said the hotter weather reduced demand for warm clothes last month. Point said last week that sales at stores open at least a year slipped 13 percent, while J. Front said sales fell 3.7 percent.

Fast Retailing in Osaka last week opened its first flagship Uniqlo store in Japan as part of a drive to operate bigger outlets in its home market. The company’s chief executive officer and biggest shareholder is Tadashi Yanai, who was named Japan’s richest man by Forbes Asia magazine in its January issue.

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