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Muji expects record profits as Chinese consumers return to basics

Catering to changing tastes key to Japanese retailer's sustained growth

A Muji store in Sichuan Province. Particularly hot items in China are skin toners with natural ingredients, which are popular with younger customers.

TOKYO -- The operator of the Muji retail chain expects to earn a record net profit for a fourth consecutive year in fiscal 2018, as China's middle class turns away from lavish products and embraces the brand's minimalist-style, natural-ingredient offerings.

Ryohin Keikaku's net profit will likely rise 11% on the year to 33.3 billion yen ($312 million) for the year through February 2019, the Japanese company said Wednesday. Operating profit is forecast to grow 10% to 50 billion yen, with 29.4 billion yen likely coming from the Japanese operations, which are seen improving 3%. The overseas operations are expected to contribute 20.4 billion yen for a 27% jump.

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