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Uniqlo appoint European chief exec

Japanese fast fashion retailer Uniqlo has appointed former Bally chief executive officer Berndt Hauptkorn as chief executive officer of Uniqlo Europe.

Hauptkorn will start in the newly-created role today and will be based between London and Paris. He will report into Nobuo Domae, executive vice-president and senior group officer of parent company Fast Retailing, and Tadashi Yanai, chief executive officer of Fast Retailing.

Previously Hauptkorn was chief executive of luxury accessories brand Bally from 2009 to 2011. Prior to this he was chief executive officer of Swiss luxury goods group Labelux.

Yanai said: “I chose Berndt Hauptkorn because of his solid experience working in a global business. He is a natural fit for us, especially because we are looking to expand our global presence and business. It is just a coincidence that he has come from the luxury goods industry.”

He added: “As a region, Europe is becoming increasingly important to Uniqlo, so my expectation is that with Berndt at the helm we will be able to develop and grow our business.”

Hauptkorn’s appointment follows on from the retailer bolstering its European team earlier this year. Uniqlo appointed Takao Kuwahara as UK chief executive in January, tasking him with leading expansion in the UK.

Uniqlo has 12 UK stores with just two in France and two in Russia. The company saw first-half sales in the six months to February grow 69% $1.05bn (£674m) with operating profit growing 45% to $141.4m (£90.7m). The retailer said sales and earnings for its UK arm were below target.

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