Asia’s biggest clothing chain store, Fast Retailing Co., owner of Uniqlo, is seeking to buy a larger rival in Europe or the U.S., as a record-strong yen is pushing up the Japanese company’s spending power.
“It won’t be something small, but a company of equal size or bigger,” said the company’s CEO, Tadashi Yanai. “The yen strength and anemic stock markets make this a very good opportunity for mergers and acquisitions,” he said.
Yanai, 62, is Japan’s second-richest person. He managed to turn his father’s tailoring business into a company worth Y1.4 trillion.
Fast Retailing is accelerating on the global market, despite the 12 percent drop in profit in the last financial year, ended in August. The company opened two new stores in New York last month and seeks to increase six times its sales through 2020, to Y5 trillion ($64 billion), and become the world’s largest cloth retailer.
“If there is a chance to do M&A in the future, we’re thinking of doing it,” said Yanai
The company intends to get larger revenues from overseas markets by 2015, as it expands in China, Southeast Asia and the United States. Its largest global competitors are Zara, H&M and Gap.