Retail in Asia

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Japan’s Zozo expects profit fall, cuts outlook


Online fashion store Zozo reported its firs-ever profit decline since its launch, adding to the announcement that it plans to discontinue its innovative Zozo suit, as it moves away for custom-fit fashion.

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One of Japan’s fastest-growing start-ups, Zozo said it expects full-year for the fiscal year ending March 2019 to fall 12%, dipping to 17.8 billion yen ($164 million).

Zozo said it expects full-year operating profit of 26.5 billion yen, down around 19% from a year earlier. It previously forecast profit to rise to 40 billion yen.

Sales are still predicted to reach double-digit growth, up 20% to 118 billion yen. However, that’s much lower than an initial forecast of 247 billion yen.

By category, private-brand revenues are forecast to total 3 billion yen, just 15% of the 20-billon yen prediction made last year. Profits at the new apparel brand will also be negative, registering a loss of 12.5 billion yen.

Zozo holds close to a 50 percent share of Japan’s e-commerce market for mid to high-end fashion. The Tokyo-based retailer had tried to branch out by launching its private brand and a made-to-measure service. Dubbed the ‘Zozosuit’, a black-and-white spotted body suit that allowed user to take and upload personal body measurements, the suit was overhauled after complaints on how long the suits took to arrive, with some customers complaining the suit did not fit, causing more delays.

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“By distributing the ‘Zozosuit’ for free so that people could take measurements, we were hoping to create demand for the Zozotown business, including the private brand. But the impact did not have the scale that we had hoped for,” the company said in a statement.

Zozo said it now expects to pay a year-end dividend of 10 yen per share instead of an original forecast of 22 yen.