#41 Fast Retailing
Fast Retailing is just that -- fast. Uniqlo's parent company has rapidly bought companies and expanded its footprint as part of CEO Tadashi Yanai's quest to make it the world's largest apparel retailer. (Zara owner Inditex is No. 1.) Stellar sales recently prompted the Japanese firm to hike profit projections for this fiscal year by 8.9%. Six outposts of the growing empire:
Photograph courtesy of Fast Retailing
The affordable brand upped its fashion cred by luring famed designer Jil Sander  to be its creative director. Uniqlo also sits at the vanguard of retail Web sites, with a stunning online home designed by the pioneering Yugo Nakamura.
2) GOV Retailing
The product of a merger of three Fast Retailing units, GOV now includes shoe brand Foot Park and clothier G.u. (the name sounds like the Japanese word for freedom). G.u.'s motto: "Buy with ease, wear with ease." It keeps the first part of that bargain with $10 jeans.
3) Cabin Co.
The women's fashion company, including Japanese brands Zazie, Real Riche, Enraciné, We-nge, and E.A.P., became a wholly owned Fast Retailing subsidiary in 2008. Uniqlo's retail experts have been called in to revamp marketing and store operations.
4) Comptoir des Cotonniers
Fast Retailing acquired this French-born retailer, which targets mothers and daughters, five years ago. Under its new corporate umbrella, the brand has expanded across Asia and Europe, adding children's, lingerie, and accessories lines.
5) Princesse Tam.Tam
The French lingerie and swimwear brand, acquired in 2005, now has a presence in 45 countries and is available in high-end department stores, including Harrods and Neiman Marcus.
6) Link Theory Holdings
The top brands at this company -- part of the Fast Retailing family since 2003 -- are New York-based Theory and the minimalist, upscale Helmut Lang.
| NUMBER OF
total revenues for most recent fiscal year
what the company is most famous for
Making casual retailer Uniqlo a global brand.
why it's innovative
For continuing the expansion of it retailing empire with hopes of passing the Gap and Inditex as the world's largest apparel retailer.
The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2009 #24 Jil Sander