Japanese retailers are vying to cash in on the country's drive for energy-savings this winter season by offering a new selection of thermal underwear. Major clothing retailer Uniqlo is expanding its lineup of popular winter underwear to include products for toddlers. Retail chain Seiyu has developed a new line of thermal underwear at a 20 percent discount to last year. Stores are expecting higher demand for winter underwear as consumers prepare to turn down the heat in the face of power rate hikes.
Fast Retailing Co (9983.T), Asia's largest apparel retailer, is sticking to its Uniqlo sales target in Japan, despite a weak start to the fiscal year due to a lack of new products and warm autumn weather, its top executive said. Chairman and Chief Executive Tadashi Yanai told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that the firm had shrunk the product lineup too deeply at its Uniqlo casual-clothing chain as it focused on core products such as its HeatTech thermal underwear and down jackets.
Toray Industries Inc., which produces the popular Heattech, a heat-retaining fabric used in clothing sold at Uniqlo outlets, will decrease the percentage manufactured in China from 80 percent to 50 percent by 2015. Production will be moved to other Asian nations because production volume in China is fast approaching capacity and also because personnel expenses in China have shot up.