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Uniqlo Parent Company Becomes World's Most Valuable Fashion Retailer

Although still lagging behind Zara's parent company, Inditex, in revenue and profits, Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, hit a higher market capitalization this week.

Nikkei Asia reported that Fast Retailing reached US$103 billion in market capitalization, while Inditex sits at US$99 billion. Fast Retailing is in the third spot for annual revenue with US$18.9 billion, which places it behind H&M at US$22.5 billion and Inditex at US$34.1 billion from November 2019 - November 2021.

Experts credit the success to the quick economic recovery following the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Asian nations where Uniqlo has a strong presence, particularly China. They also say the increase in remote work has led people to prefer the type of casual clothing the brand specializes in.

Fast Retailing's biggest brand is Uniqlo but it also owns J Brand, Theory and six more brands. There are currently 2,298 Uniqlo stores around the world; 815 are in Japan and 791 are in China. Vietnam has recently gotten in on the action and opened several stores in the past year and a half. 

Fast Retailing also recently released their sustainability report which documents various efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of their products and operations as well as human rights efforts. Highlights of the report include new feather-recycling technology, the donation of clothing to refugee camps, and the donation of 16.73 million masks and 1.43 million isolation gowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fast Fashion, a category of clothing retail that Uniqlo, Zara and H&M belong to, has been criticized for relying on labor with poor working conditions and producing an inordinate amount of waste and pollution.

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