Marks & Spencer's online sales boosted thanks to partnership with Alibaba

Monday, 22 September 2014
Alibaba, the Chinese online conglomerate has helped bolster Marks & Spencer's online clothing sales in China, after the British department store group signed a deal to sell its clothes through Alibaba's subsidiary, Tmall.

M&S revealed this weekend that half of all its apparel and footwear sales in China are made online via Tmall, adding that it was the fastest expanding women's wear label on the online marketplace. The head of Marks & Spencer’s overseas internet business, Ricky Wilson, commented: “Tmall accounts for 50 percent of all clothing and footwear purchases made in China, providing international brands with a huge opportunity to reach China’s growing middle classes.”

He noted that a quarter of M&S's sales on Tmall come from customers in the Greater Shanghai area, which is complementary to the department store group's presence. “We have adopted a tailored market-by-market approach to international e-commerce and, in a complex market like China, forming a partnership with Tmall has enabled us to benefit from its scale, infrastructure and local insight.”

M&S first signed up to offer its apparel and footwear on Tmall in December 2012 and currently operates 15 stores throughout China. The department store group's partnership with Alibaba reflects the company's ongoing strategy to become one of the leading international retailers.

Last Friday saw the Chinese e-commerce giant launch on the New York stock exchange, which may be one of the world's largest initial public offering after raising 21.8 billion dollars. Around 217 million shares were traded, which is more than double the amount traded during the IPOs of Twitter or Facebook.

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