Uniqlo’s owner raises wages for Japan workers by up to 40% as inflation bites

Hong Kong

Fast Retailing, the Japanese conglomerate that owns popular clothing brands Uniqlo and Theory, will start paying its employees more this year.

The company announced on Wednesday that it will raise wages in Japan Up to 40% agree that “wage levels have remained low” in the country in recent years.

“This includes employees from the headquarters and corporate departments responsible for operations at the company’s global headquarters, as well as employees working in stores,” the company said in a statement. Report.

The move comes days after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was invited Business leaders should speed up the hike for workers, warning that the economy risks falling into stagnation if wage growth continues to fall behind price rises.

Japan is struggling with the biggest drop in living standards in nearly a decade.

Last Friday, the world’s third-largest economy reported its worst real wage decline in more than eight years, worsening conditions for workers already struggling with high living costs.

Core inflation, which measures items excluding fresh food, rose 4% in December from a year ago, according to official figures released Tuesday in the capital Tokyo, beating the 3.8% expected by economists.

That was “the highest seen in 40 years,” analysts at Nomura said in a report on Wednesday.

“Inflation in Japan is a factor in our consideration,” a Fast Retailing spokeswoman told CNN on Wednesday.

But the company is generally “more focused on aligning every employee’s pay with global standards to increase our competitiveness,” the representative added.

The company will officially change its overall compensation system in March. Starting salaries for entry-level university graduates will rise by approximately 18%, while new store managers will see an increase of approximately 36%, according to the company.

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The retailer has been raising wages for staff in some of its overseas markets, leading to pay rises of between 5% and 25%, the spokeswoman said.

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