Japanese discount chain Uniqlo is reportedly planning a move into food retailing, hoping to start selling fruit and vegetables in the country by autumn. To do this it may acquire a mid-sized supermarket operator.

Tadashi Yanai, president and CEO of Uniqlo's parent company Fast Retailing, told the Times that the proposed food retail business would trade under a different, and yet undecided, name: "We want to apply the Uniqlo philosophy to food.

"We will give the food manufacturer a specification of what we are looking for, have them make it for us and we will work with them, do the quality control and sell it in our store."

Wal-Mart recently made its first foray into Japan with the buyout of a 6.1% stake in the country's fourth largest supermarket group Seiyu. Uniqlo's plans will pitch it head to head with the US retail behemoth.
Uniqlo has seen sales growth fall in recent months.