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Fast Retailing Falls After Japan Uniqlo Sales Decline

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Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Fast Retailing Co., operator of Asia’s biggest clothing chain, fell 3 percent in Tokyo trading after sales at its Uniqlo stores in Japan slid for the fourth straight month.

The stock fell 400 yen to 12,990, the lowest since Nov. 17, at the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.1 percent.

November sales at domestic stores open at least a year plunged 14.5 percent from a year earlier, the Yamaguchi City, Japan-based company said yesterday after the market close.

“It was a negative surprise,” said Masamitsu Ohki, a Tokyo-based fund manager at Stats Investment Management Co., which owns shares of Fast Retailing. “Volatility in domestic sales at Uniqlo is too big, deterring investors.”

Fast Retailing, which has lost 26 percent of its market value this year, forecast that full-year net income will fall for the first time in four years as it offers more discounts amid increasing competition. Demand during November fell even after record one-day sales of 10.2 billion yen ($122 million) on Nov. 20, the start of a four-day promotion campaign.

The chain reduced the price of its Heattech turtleneck by 34 percent to 990 yen and that of the Ultra Light Down jacket by 33 percent to 3,990 yen during the campaign. Uniqlo’s domestic same-store sales may fall 4.7 percent in the fiscal year ending in August, the company said in October.

Sales last month were “almost in line with our projections,” Daisuke Hase, a spokesman for the company, said yesterday. “We don’t think it was a bad number since we had very good sales a year earlier.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net; Shunichi Ozasa in Tokyo at sozasa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net

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