This week in the news, Hong Kong retailers saw a drop in sales for Golden Week, Topshop enters China through Shangpin.com, Vivarte is bringing its shoes to Asia, New York’s Waldorf Astoria bought by Chinese insurance company for nearly $2 billion, and Zara opened a new store on Tmall.
Early indications show that Hong Kong’s retail sales were disrupted by the pro-democracy protests with sales estimated to have fallen by as much as 50 percent for some major retailers during one of busiest shopping weeks of the year. The Hong Kong Retail Management Association released results of a survey of its members that showed sales may have fallen between 15 percent to 50 percent during the first five days of Golden Week compared to a year ago. Small and mid-size retailers showed steeper declines of as much as 80 percent, according to the survey. The watch and jewelry category was most impacted. Stores located in the middle of the protests in the Admiralty, Mong Kok, and Causeway Bay areas were severely affected.
Topshop has partnered with luxury multi-brand e-commerce retailer ShangPin.com for its China debut. The e-tailer is officially introducing Topshop to Chinese online shoppers with a mobile fashion experience, ‘The Mobile Adventure.’ To kick off the partnership, which was announced in August, more than 5,000 shoppers descended on The Place mall in Beijing for the two-day event. Once inside, it is all about virtually trying on outfits and sharing photos on social media. Shoppers were greeted by a super-sized smartphone that displayed over 300 Topshop outfits that could be purchased through their QR codes for next-day delivery. Since launching its mobile app last year, 40 percent of ShangPin’s sales have been through mobile.
Vivarte will bring three brands – Minelli, Andrew and Cosmoparis – to Asia. The first Minelli store is expected to open in January 2015 at the Grand Gateway shopping mall in Shanghai. The first Cosmoparis store will be launched in the first half of 2015. The plan is to open 200 stores across eight countries in Asia, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea, as well as launch e-commerce in these countries. Vivarte expects Asia to add $350 million in sales within four years. The company’s distribution partner is Hong Kong-based GRI Retail Group, a heavyweight in Asia with 1,200 shoe stores and sales over $1.2 billion. Its portfolio includes Stuart Weitzman, Nine West, Karen Millen, Joan & David, Steve Madden, as well as its own brand EQIQ.
Hilton has agreed to sell Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion to a Chinese insurance company, Anbang Insurance Group. Under the new deal, Hilton will continue to manage the hotel for the next 100 years. Hilton plans to use the money from the sale to acquire new international properties, which will also help offset some of the tax on the transaction. Anbang has confirmed that it will upgrade the property, but it’s not clear if that includes converting some of the hotel’s 1,232 rooms into private residences. Hilton recently raised its yearly forecast after higher-than-estimated second quarter revenues. Since debuting in December with an opening price of $21.30, the company’s stock has risen 9.3 percent so far this year.
The Spanish retailer Inditex SA is set to open an online store on Alibaba’s Tmall for its Zara brand this month to boost its sales among Chinese consumers. Inditex has 456 stores in China, and the country also accounts for 8 percent of the company’s sales. Before the brand decided to open a Tmall store, Zara’s China sales were expected to grow “as much as 20 percent over the next few years.” But its website, Zara.cn, is far behind Tmall, the seventh most popular Chinese web destination, in terms of views. Zara’s attraction to Tmall may also stem from the website’s recent efforts to address the online sale of counterfeit goods. Though Alibaba and Taobao are notorious for fake goods, Tmall has found a solution: requiring cash deposits from vendors.
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