Fast Retailing Hits Two-Week Low as Warm Winter Hurt Japan Sales

  • November same-store sales fell 8.9%, customer number down 13%
  • Concern that price hikes had also deterred buyers: analyst

Fast Retailing Co. fell to the lowest in two weeks after its Uniqlo chain of casual-wear reported a dip in Japanese same-store sales last month amid “unusually hot weather” that stifled sales of winter clothing.

Shares of Yamaguchi, Japan-based Fast Retailing fell 2.6 percent to 47,450 yen as of 11:10 a.m. in Tokyo trading, the lowest intraday level since Nov. 18. November sales at its 751 domestic Japanese outlets open at least a year fell 8.9 percent from a year earlier, while the number of customers dipped 13 percent, the retailer saidTuesday.

Domestic sales were “weaker than we anticipated,” Dairo Murata, an analyst at JPMorgan Securities Japan Co., said in a Dec. 2 report. “Uniqlo is heavily exposed to practical fashion susceptible to temperature impact, but one possible concern might be whether customers are staying away because of price hikes.”

Fast Retailing’s billionaire Chairman Tadashi Yanai has said price increases in Japan were inevitable because of a weaker yen. The company is also facing obstacles overseas, announcing in October earnings and forecasts that missed analyst estimates due to losses at its Uniqlo and J Brand businesses in the U.S.

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