Fast Retailing's 2014 Profits Slide Due to Poor J Brand Sales

But things are looking up for next year.
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Eliza Brooke
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But things are looking up for next year.
A Uniqlo store opening. Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

A Uniqlo store opening. Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Despite the fact that Fast Retailing's revenue climbed 21 percent to roughly $13.6 billion in 2014, the Japanese retail holding company's net profit fell nearly 28 percent in the same year. The cause? A one-time impairment loss at J Brand resulting from poor sales, according to figures released by the company Thursday. 

Still, CEO Tadashi Yanai noted in a presentation that he expects to see a 38 percent uptick in profit for 2015, as Uniqlo Japan and Uniqlo International have continued their steady growth and the global brands segment (meaning all brands that aren't Uniqlo) has popped back up to just above its 2013 levels of income. Fast Retailing will carry on with its plans to build the Los Angeles-based J Brand, which it acquired in 2012, into a worldwide denim label.

To J Brand's credit, it wasn't the only one of Fast Retailing's global brands to underperform somewhat this year. Income also dropped at Theory, Princesse Tam Tam and GU. The expanding French contemporary women's brand Comptoir des Cotonniers, meanwhile, saw growth in sales and income for fiscal 2014, which wrapped up August 31.

Uniqlo, for its part, is doing just fine. Thanks to a spate of store openings outside of Japan, the basics brand saw international revenue climb nearly 65 percent this year. In its home country, Uniqlo sales grew a respectable 4.7 percent. So, same-store sales are still on the up and up.