How Uniqlo became the world’s most valuable clothing company

Fast Retailing, the Japanese clothing group that owns Uniqlo, toppled a giant last week.

The company surpassed Spain’s Inditex, owner of Zara, to become the world’s most valuable clothing retailer, Nikkei reported. As of this writing, Fast Retailing’s market capitalization stands at $105.6 billion, edging out Inditex’s $98.2 billion. Other rivals, such as H&M, trail far behind. While there are companies with clothing businesses that are more valuable, such as Nike and French luxury group LVMH, their total sales rely heavily on categories other than clothes.

Fast Retailing’s ascension has as much to do with its future as its past. By sales, Zara and H&M are still bigger, but while their share prices have fluctuated through the global turmoil brought about by Covid-19, Fast Retailing’s stock has been on a steady rise since April. Uniqlo makes up the great majority of the company’s sales, and investors appear optimistic about where the brand is headed. Part of that confidence appears due to Asia’s growing spending power (paywall).

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