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Fast Retailing Purchases Theory

05, February 2009

Fast Retailing, creators of Japanese casual fashion brand Uniqlo, recently announced its purchase of "Theory" a premium women's brand well established in the Japanese market.

Fast Retailing controlled 32% of Theory stock before to injecting an additional 30 million dollars to acquire 100% ownership of the brand. It also announced plans on January 28th to develop a new subsidiary company, LTH, or Link Theory Holdings, for management of the company.

In addition to the basic Theory line, labeled "Simple, Basic, Stylish", an additional umbrella brand titled "Theory Luxe" also offers two luxury lines specifically for the Japanese market. Theory Men and Theory Petit for children are also under development for the Japanese market.

Theory prices typically run around 500 USD for a jacket and 1000 USD for a women's suit. Blouses sell for around 200 USD, and there are also knit and casual women's dress items.

Fast Retailing is planning 40 new Theory shops for the Japanese market, mainly inside department stores. Compared to the first quarter of 2007, profits were down by 11.7% in September to November 2008. However, Fast Retailing hopes its capital injection will help the brand regain traction.

Acquisition benefits are also likely to accrue to Uniqlo. Fast Retailing's strategy is to open international channels with Theory first for Uniqlo to follow later. With 746 Uniqlo stores in Japan, 13 in the UK, one in the United States and another in France, Fast Retailing hopes Uniqlo can copy Theory's international success.

January 29,2009 J Cast News

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