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H&M and Uniqlo Bullish on China Despite Slowdown

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China’s economic status may have some in a tizzy, but both H&M and Uniqlo are confident that their budget-friendly fast fashion will still draw shoppers in the slowing economy.

The Asian nation had set its sights on 7 percent economic growth this year, a rate that would still mark China’s lowest in 25 years, but last week the Asian Development Bank forecast GDP growth there to reach an even lower 6.8% for the year.

H&M, however, seems little fazed.

The Swedish retailer told Bloomberg it plans to open more than 70 locations in Mainland China this fiscal year ended November 2015, which adds to the 232 it already had at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Uniqlo, Japan’s leading purveyor of quick-to-market fashion, won’t be reeling from China’s moves either.

In an interview with reporters Saturday, Tadashi Tanai, CEO of Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing, said the company has seen “absolutely” no impact on business because of China’s slowdown.

“It’s changing from a manufacturing- and export-led economy to that of one lead by consumption. People’s living standards will get better. Income will rise,” Reuters reported Yanai as saying. “Luxury items may not sell all that well but we…sell clothes that are made for all.”

Uniqlo plans to have 1,000 stores open in Greater China in the next five years, up from the nearly 450 it currently has, and ultimately expanding to as many as 3,000.

H&M reported flat third quarter profit in its earnings statement last week, citing higher garment costs on the strengthening dollar. The company’s profit for the period was 5.31 billion Swedish kronor ($630 million) and gross margin hit an 11-year low 55.9%.

In its third quarter report for the period ended May 31, Fast Retailing said operating profit at Uniqlo Japan was up 11.2% year on year to 24.3 billion yen ($202.7 million) while Uniqlo International saw a 25.2% jump in operating profit to 9 billion yen ($75.1 million) on what it called “consistent strength” from Greater China and South Korea.

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