ITOCHU Announces Rollout of Demand Forecasting Service for Apparel Through Business Alliance with Japan Weather Association

November 25, 2020

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has entered into a business partnership agreement for the design, development and operation of a demand forecasting service for apparel with Japan Weather Association (headquartered in Toshima-ku, Tokyo; Futoshi Osada, Director General; hereinafter “JWA”), a leading company of weather technology. Test operation of the demand forecasting service will commence from the spring-summer season in 2021.

Recently, there has been growing interest in the problem of the massive disposal of excess inventory as a structural issue facing the fashion industry. Increasingly severe abnormal weather patterns in recent years have received attention as one of the factors behind this. This alliance came about from the belief that the fashion industry moving away from its business practice of production plans predicated on sales volume from the previous year and shifting to highly accurate production plans based on objective data will help solve this problem. Specifically, by combining past sales data from multiple apparel-related companies together with weather data maintained by JWA, medium-to-long-term demand can be forecast for each product category, optimizing production and sales plans.

Conceptual Image of the Demand Forecasting Service

Test operation of the service will start from the 2021 spring-summer season, first through the cooperation of several apparel-related companies such as specialty boutiques. Ahead of the service’s full-scale launch from spring-summer 2022, ITOCHU will utilize its extensive knowledge and networks to introduce the demand forecasting service for apparel through the industry and help improve supply chain efficiency. Looking ahead, by utilizing the weather big data analysis technologies JWA has cultivated over many years together with ITOCHU’s knowledge and expertise in product demand forecasting, the alliance aims to solve sustainability issues and evolve business models in the fashion industry.