One of Japan's top clothiers Onward Holdings has reported a drop in pretax profit of 30% for March-May from the same period last year to JPY4bn (US$42.8m), while its sales fell 9% to JPY65.6bn.

Losses were tied to the fact that Onward sells much of its apparel - around 70% - from the country's moribund department stores. These have been posting historic losses and, in some cases, after more than 100 years of trading closing forever.

Onward said its group operating profit was also down a heavy 52% to JPY3.1bn.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.