Inflation, in Japan? Uniqlo thinks so

After decades battling deflation, could Japan finally be about to see some inflation?

A big decision by Uniqlo suggests it just might.

The fashion retailer says it's about to raise prices on some products.

It says higher costs for shipping and raw materials leave it no option.

The move adds to signs that Japanese firms are finally passing on higher prices to consumers.

A Reuters poll showed that only 14% had already done so - but another 40% planned to.

That just might cheer policymakers.

They've long wanted to see rising prices, and wages, to help spur spending and drive growth.

A price hike at Uniqlo - known for its strong focus on value - suggests that day could be coming.

And the retailer itself doesn't seem to be suffering from the cost pressures.

On Thursday (January 13) parent firm Fast Retailing reported a near-6% rise in quarterly operating profit, to just over $1 billion.

Its international business reported record results, driven by sales in South Asia, North America and Europe.

That more than offset a weaker performance in its usual growth drivers, at home and in China.

Now the question is whether Japanese shoppers will start spending today, to beat the prospect of higher prices tomorrow.

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