Japan’s Zozo, Onward to tie-up as COVID-19 hits fashion sales-Nikkei By Reuters

© Reuters. The logo of Zozo, which operates Japan’s popular fashion shopping site Zozotown and is officially called Start Today Co, is pictured at an event launching the debut of its formal apparel items, in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese online fashion retailer Zozo Inc (T:) and apparel group Onward Holdings Co (T:) plan to tie up in custom-made clothing to help each other survive a sales slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the said on Sunday.

Zozo, Japan’s biggest online fashion mall, will offer Onward body-size data on a million customers, the business daily reported, without citing sources.

Zozo and Onward were not immediately available for comment outside business hours on Sunday.

Apparel makers such as Onward are struggling with poor sales from pandemic-related store closures and weak consumer spending. Rival Renown Inc filed the bankruptcy protection in May.

Onward, which sells clothes under brands such as Kumikyoku, depends heavily on sales at Japanese department stores, which mostly reopened by late May but are still grappling with a decline in customers amid lingering fears of infections.

Last year Zozo was taken over by Yahoo Japan Corp, now named Z Holdings Corp (T:), after Zozo made a costly foray into a bespoke fashion service that brought little new business and saddled it with massive costs.

Zozo was also hit by the departure of many brands setting up their own e-commerce sites instead of depending on the company’s infrastructure. Onward was one of the retailers that left the site in 2018.

The Nikkei said Onward plans to start selling 28 types of business clothing, such as jackets and dresses, from August by using Zozo’s data, aiming to boost annual sales to 10 billion yen ($94 million) in five years.

Zozo was founded by a billionaire Yusaku Maezawa whose plans for a lunar flyby as the first private passenger on Elon Musk’s SpaceX mission had helped spread Zozo’s name globally.

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