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Fast Retailing introduces robots for automation

Fast Retailing has enlisted the help of Mujin and Exotec Solutions to help improve efficiency in warehousing and distribution. Fast Retailing, Asia's biggest fashion retailer by sales, is a Japanese fashion group, owner of clothing chain Uniqlo. Mujin is a Japanese robotics controller maker. Exotec is a French robotics startup. They will help introduce more automation at global warehouses, including in picking and shipping processes.

Known for its affordable line of casual clothing like the lightweight down jackets, Uniqlo is currently enjoying strong growth in China. However, the unit has struggled with inefficiencies, occasionally blaming unseasonable weather for poor sales and excess inventory - an issue Fast Retailing hopes to address with shorter lead times and improved logistics. The hope is to avoid making, shipping or selling anything unnecessary.

Fast Retailing in partnership with UN Women will champion women’s rights and empowerment in the apparel industry. This is the first formal alliance between UN Women and a clothing company based in Asia. Under the new partnership, Fast Retailing and UN Women will together promote safe and secure work environments, and advance empowerment for all women and girls. The scope of the partnership is to jointly implement a program for female workers in garment factories in Asia, Fast Retailing’s main production hub.