Fifth is an online-only, fast fashion store with strong visuals. It is one of the more successful new e-commerce ventures, expecting to grow to sales of ¥10 billion within a few years. It also plans to sell its expertise to other fashion businesses needing help online.
Fifth is a fast fashion, online store offering ‘fashion items for the fashionista’ (5-fifth.com). Prices for tops and bottoms start at just ¥1,500, with shoes and bags starting at ¥2,500, and ¥1,000 plus for other accessories. While its product is cheap, the site’s production values are anything but. Fifth’s operator, Code Share, uses top end stylists like Kaori Toiguchi, models such as Hinano Yoshikawa, and hairstylist Sadamu to create high impact visuals and video, in effect delivering the production values of a major chain.
The result has been a huge hit with women in their 20s. Sales shot up last year, reaching ¥1.4 billion in just the second year of operation, and unlike so many start ups, turning a profit too – despite the weak Yen increasing its cost of sales. It claims to be getting around 70,000 to 80,000 visitors a day, and now has some 250,000 registered users.
Fifth is expanding the line up and also increasing the product cycle. It will increase SKUs from 150 to 200 this year, with a particular emphasis on tops and accessories, and will introduce new merchandising more frequently, up from four times a year to monthly. It is also diversifying its sourcing, adding its own reps in China and other production centres to control quality.
Going forward it says it wants to create one new online brand per year with different target markets, and sales of ¥2-3 billion each. The second brand will launch this September, offering a more natural taste, casual apparel line that targets a slightly older late 20s to early 30s customer than Fifth. Code Share will also expand into overseas markets; it has already launched Fifth in Taiwan and plans to launch in China soon, delivering directly from its warehouse there.
Spurred on by its success Code Share also plans to offer e-commerce consulting and fulfilment services to other fashion companies. It is forecasting sales of ¥2.1 billion for the year to January 2016 and a user base of 400,000.
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