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Uniqlo Owner's 3Q Profit Surges 35%, Raises Forecast on China Recovery

TOKYO, July 13 (Reuters) - The Japanese operator of apparel retailer Uniqlo reported record third-quarter profit on Thursday and raised its full-year forecast as its business in China continued to recover from a pandemic slowdown.

Fast Retailing's operating profit in the three months through May surged 35% to 110.3 billion yen ($797 million), exceeding the 102.4 billion yen average of forecasts from seven analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

The company raised its full-year profit forecast to 370 billion yen, also a new record, from 360 billion yen previously.

The company known for its fleece jackets and inexpensive basics has 925 Uniqlo outlets in mainland China - more than in Japan - making it a bellwether for a retail market that was hammered by COVID-19 restrictions in recent years.

Business in China started to turn around in January, resulting in sharp increases in sales and profit from the region in the second quarter, the company said in April.

Fast Retailing's shares have soared 32% so far this year, helping founder Tadashi Yanai cement his place as Japan's richest person. The company's shares have outpaced a 24% advance in the benchmark Nikkei that has been one of the hottest equity markets worldwide.

($1 = 138.8100 yen)

Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Stephen Coates and Tom Hogue

Source: Reuters

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