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Business deals

Goldman to invest $27m in Japan fashion e-tailer with Itochu

Milleporte sees funds helping to gain edge on top rival Zozo

Milleporte lists clothing from thousands of high-end brands on its website.

TOKYO -- Goldman Sachs and Japanese trading conglomerate Itochu plan to jointly invest roughly 3 billion yen ($27 million) into the Tokyo-based startup behind online apparel retailer Milleporte, Nikkei has learned.

The startup, B4F, will have a director installed on its board by Goldman Sachs, which will provide much of the funding. Milleporte will tap into Itochu's portfolio of brands and vast network to broaden its catalog.

Milleporte handles thousands of clothing labels, mostly in the high-end market. The site will utilize the funds to bolster advertising and improve back-end systems in a bid to take on Zozo, Japan's online apparel leader.

Zozo's strategy of offering discounts to members backfired when clothing brands started leaving its Zozotown platform for fear of a loss of prestige. Milleporte also offers discounts, but they come in the form of "flash sales" that last only a few days, a concept that helps boost demand and maintains brand image.

Milleporte's operation is bolstered further by the personal connections B4F CEO Armel Cahierre has built up in the high-end fashion industry. The company plans to launch a boutique site that will offer wine and cosmetics.

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