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Japan-Update

Uniqlo struggles to boost online sales

Big distribution snafu, too many real outlets cloud website's appeal

Uniqlo's overwhelming strength in physical stores -- more than 800 outlets across Japan -- diminishes some of the convenience of online shopping.

TOKYO -- Uniqlo is struggling to grow its online sales in Japan, where it has more than 800 outlets. The difficulty comes despite Fast Retailing's stated goal of nurturing its online operations as a source of growth.

Fast Retailing, Uniqlo's operator, in March unveiled a new smartphone-optimized site, and online sales took a 20% joyride for a month. Yet online sales are about 6% of total domestic sales -- one-fifth the target.

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