Business / Corporate

Japan apparel firm Renown files for bankruptcy as virus hit sales

Saddled with debts totaling ¥13.88 billion, Renown is first bankruptcy of a listed company in Japan since January 2019

Kyodo

Japanese apparel maker Renown Inc. said Friday it filed for bankruptcy protection after the coronavirus pandemic hit sales sharply in recent months.

Founded in 1902, Renown filed for protection from creditors with the Tokyo District Court under the civil rehabilitation law. It was the first bankruptcy of a listed company in Japan since January 2019, according to credit research firm Teikoku Databank.

Renown was saddled with debts totaling ¥13.88 billion ($129 million).

The coronavirus outbreak triggered more than 150 corporate bankruptcies in Japan as of Friday, according to the research firm.

As the spread of the virus has prompted people to stay home, Renown’s sales at retail stores fell 42.5 percent in March from a year before. They plunged 81 percent in April when major department stores, its major sales channels, suspended operations amid the pandemic.

The maker of D’urban brand suits posted a net loss of ¥6.7 billion in the March-December period in 2019 after failing to collect ¥5 billion in outstanding debts from a Hong Kong-based affiliate of the Shandong Ruyi group. The Chinese textile group holds a 53 percent stake in Renown.

Renown came under the control of the Shandong Ruyi group in 2010 to restore its financial health.

The Japanese apparel maker once enjoyed brisk sales as the industry leader before the burst of the nation’s asset-bubble economy in the early 1990s.

But it struggled to widen its customer base, including younger clientele, and faced fierce competition from rivals such as Fast Retailing Co., the operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain.

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