Report: Japan’s Fast Retailing Still Looking to Buy U.S. Retailer

Tokyo, Japan's Fast Retailing, operator of Uniqlo casual clothing shops, is still interested in a U.S. acquisition as part of efforts to build its global business.

“The U.S. is a difficult market. But [the Uniqlo flagship store in] New York is going well and there is enormous potential in the U.S.,” chairman and CEO Tadashi Yanai told the Financial Times.

“It is very difficult for us to go to the U.S. and be successful. We are looking to buy a U.S. company and they would help us build a platform,” he said.

But he reportedly dismissed rumors that he was looking at Saks, saying he did not want to buy a “pure department store.”

The Japanese company dropped out of the bidding war in August for the prestigious Barneys New York department store, declining to match a $942 million offer from Dubai investment firm Istithmar.

It opened a flagship Uniqlo store on Oxford Street in London on Wednesday and will open a shop one month later in Paris' La Defense business district.

Yanai also reiterated his ambitions to expand in China and India. Fast Retailing has set a goal of doubling its global sales by 2010 through expansion both in Western cities and in Asia to compensate for slack growth in Japan.

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