Once again in May, Uniqlo’s sales were affected less by the weather as is usually the case, and more by the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Fast Retailing-owned chain on Tuesday reported sales during May for its Japanese operation and said that the total figure fell by 19.7% year-on-year. And comparable sales fell by 18.1%, both figures including its online operation.
The company was never likely to come out ahead last month as around 20% of its Japanese stores were closed temporarily during the period, although it fared better than many chains internationally where 100% of shops were closed in some countries. The company didn't report results for its own international operations.
The closures meant that it was unable to conduct its regular sales promotions for Japan's annual Golden Week holiday and its own anniversaries.
That said, it reported that sales of its summer ranges proved strong and its stores that were open for business even managed to see “many days when sales exceeded the previous year's levels”. In addition, e-commerce sales continued strongly in May, rising “considerably” year-on-year, an understandable by-product of so many shops being shut.
But the company appears to be getting back to normal. A maximum of 311 stores were temporarily closed in May with 354 operating reduced opening hours. But following the lifting of the state of emergency in Japan, the number of temporarily closed stores declined to 46 at the end of May.