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CEO's Promise to Stop Tweeting Sends His Company's Stock Higher

The Wall Street Journal. logo The Wall Street Journal. 7/2/2019 Megumi Fujikawa
Yusaku Maezawa wearing a suit and tie © kim kyung hoon/Reuters

TOKYO—The Japanese CEO who plans to fly around the moon on Elon Musk’s spacecraft has found a way to send his struggling company’s shares skyward: He said he would stop tweeting.

Yusaku Maezawa, until now a frequent Twitter user like Mr. Musk, made an announcement on the social-media platform on Thursday.

“I will focus on my main business. My challenge continues. I will achieve good results whatever it takes. Please let me take some time off from Twitter,” Mr. Maezawa wrote, concluding with an emoji of a man bowing deeply.

The tweet immediately sent shares of Mr. Maezawa’s fashion e-commerce company, Zozo Inc., 7% higher. Still, the shares, which had dropped sharply in the morning, ended the day lower.

A Zozo spokeswoman confirmed Mr. Maezawa sent the tweet and declined to comment further.

Last week, Zozo said it expected net profit to fall in the current fiscal year, the first annual decline since Zozo shares went public in 2007. Shares have fallen more than 60% since the peak in July.

Zozo has suffered from sluggish sales of a house clothing brand started by Mr. Maezawa and defections by some fashion brands that were upset with a discount program for customers on the company’s Zozotown website.

In addition, some investors have questioned whether Mr. Maezawa was focused on his Zozo business amid other attention-grabbing activities including his 2017 purchase of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting of a black skull for $110.5 million. In 2023, Mr. Maezawa is set to be the first paying customer to fly around the moon on the SpaceX vehicle of Mr. Musk, CEO of car maker Tesla Inc.

Mr. Maezawa defended his discount program in recent tweets, saying some department stores have provided similar discounts and quoting a clothing brand CEO who decided to stay on Zozotown.

Write to Megumi Fujikawa at megumi.fujikawa@wsj.com

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