Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing Co said on Wednesday it will raise wages by as much as 40 per cent, focusing on its home market of Japan where salaries have remained comparatively low.

The move comes ahead of spring labour negotiations in Japan, where wage hikes have lagged behind accelerating inflation and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has urged companies to lift pay.

Fast Retailing, which operates over 3,500 clothing stores worldwide, said its remuneration system would be revised from March, and that levels in Japan would be significantly raised.

Overall personnel costs in Japan will rise about 15 per cent over the previous year, taking into account an hourly wage hike for part-time workers that year, with the expense absorbed by productivity improvement, a company spokesperson said.

Fast Retailing is due to post first-quarter earnings on Thursday. It reported record profit for the year through August as growth in North America and Europe compensated for a slump in its largest overseas market China, which has been slowed by pandemic containment measures.

The company’s share price rose 1.3 per cent in Tokyo morning trade, versus a 0.9 per cent advance in the benchmark Nikkei index.

  • Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Tom Hogue and Christopher Cushing, of Reuters.



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