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Japan’s Fast Retailing recruiting in robotics start-ups for the automation of warehouses

FILE PHOTO: People shop at a UNIQLO by the Fast Retailing in the store at the Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, October 28, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White

TOKYO (Reuters) – the Japanese fashion group ‘ Fast Retailing Co Ltd (9983.(T), is the owner of clothing chain Uniqlo on Wednesday said it has partnered with two robotic start-ups, to help improve the efficiency of warehousing and distribution.

Asia’s biggest fashion retailer by sales and the world’s second-largest, after Zara-owner Inditex (ITX.MC), which last year said it would invest 100 billion yen ($916.59 million), the increase of the automation in the room.

Japanese robotics controller author Mujin Electronics Co., Ltd [MUJIN.UL] and French robotics startup, Exotec Solutions, SAS will be to assist with the implementation of more automation in the global inventory, including picking and shipping processes, Fast Retailing said in a statement.

Well-known for its affordable line of casual clothing, such as lightweight down jackets but Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo has grown over the decades, the weakness of consumption in Japan.

It is currently enjoying strong growth in China, with the brand name to log in to more than 1 billion yuan ($142.98 million) worth of sales during the 24-hour Singles’ Day shopping festival on e-commerce, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA).(N).

However, it has struggled with inefficiencies, the blame unseasonable weather for the poor sales and excess inventory, a problem is that Fast Retailing plans to deal with shorter lead times and improved logistics.

“Do not make, transport or sell anything unnecessary – this has been a goal for retailers. Unfortunately, this is something that has not been achieved, the Executive Vice-President Takuya, Jimmy, told reporters. The new technology could change this, Jimmy said.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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