September 12, 2019 / 5:15 AM / 2 months ago

Thai Pomelo Fashion raises $52 million from top retailer Central, others

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Fashion e-commerce startup Pomelo has raised $52 million in fresh funding from a group of investors including top Thai retailer Central Group and Skype co-founders, its CEO said on Thursday, as the company expands its physical footprint in Asia.

The JD.com (JD.O)-backed company, which competes with Inditex-owned Zara (ITX.MC) and H&M (HMb.ST), has now raised a total of $83 million with the series C funding.

Pomelo, which is present at 9 locations across Bangkok, Phuket and Singapore, will open new stores in Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore, CEO David Jou said in an interview.

“We are also looking at Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Manila and Ho Chi Minh City,” he said, adding that new locations were based on online customer data.

Although the company is expanding its physical footprint, its mobile app accounted for 85% of transactions, he added.

Pomelo, which started with women’s fashion online before opening physical stores in 2018 to give shoppers the brand experience and then draw them online, also plans to expand its “fitting room network” of partners, including cafes, gyms and co-working spaces.

It plans to open such touch points at 300 locations, compared with 50 at present, he said, adding that it would also invest in machine learning and automation to bring down cost and increase customer customization.

“In the app, customers will be able see styles that are aligned with their personal style and budget,” he said.

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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