Retail news from around the globe

Alibaba eyes Hong Kong listing

Alibaba Group is considering a listing in Hong Kong as early as this month to raise up to US$15 billion ($21.8 billion) – possibly the biggest equity deal of the year – after political unrest put the move on ice earlier this year, Reuters reports.

The Chinese e-commerce giant’s listing would boost Hong Kong’s status as a major capital markets hub. After topping global rankings in 2018 for funds raised through initial public offerings, the city’s bourse fell behind the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq this year amid months of disruptive anti-government protests.

Alibaba plans to seek listing approval from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing shortly after November 11, which is Singles Day, often one of the busiest shopping days in Asia. It may list its shares towards the end of November or in early December. 

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Alibaba is already listed in New York.

Amazon drops grocery delivery fees

Amazon has a new plan to try and jumpstart its grocery delivery business: cut some fees for its Prime members in the US. It is also seeking to make shopping easier by combining AmazonFresh and Whole Foods Market ordering on a single site.

The move is an attempt to compete for the fresh food market with rivals such as Walmart and Kroger, both of whose shares dropped on the Amazon announcement.

The US online retailer has announced that it will no longer charge US$15 a month for its Amazon Fresh service for subscribers of its Prime membership, which costs US$119 a year. And at least US$35 must be spent to qualify for free delivery in two hours.

Amazon suggests a US$5 tip for the delivery workers, but tipping is optional. Delivery is still a tiny part of the US$740 billion ($1.1 trillion) grocery market, partly because “most people want to inspect eggs and squeeze avocados themselves”, the Associated Press reports. 

Skechers in Shanghai Disney resort

US lifestyle and performance footwear company Skechers has opened a flagship retail store in the Disneytown shopping district at the Shanghai Disney Resort, the first Skechers to be located in a Disney resort property.

The new Skechers Kids Brand Experience store, which opened on October 20, is located in a high-traffic area of the resort, which welcomes more than 11 million visitors a year. At 258sqm, it’s the largest standalone Skechers store in China. It offers kids’ clothing and sneakers as well as coordinated parent-child outfits.

Based in Manhattan Beach, California, the now-global brand was founded in 1992 and is now the third-largest athletic footwear brand in the US.

The Disneytown store is among more than 1000 Skechers retail stores operating in China. There are more than 3300 Skechers destinations around the globe, including flagship locations like New York’s Times Square, Covent Garden in London and Harajuku in Tokyo. 

Nike sells surfwear brand to Bluestar

US athletic footwear group Nike has announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell the its Hurley brand to Bluestar Alliance, BusinessWire reports.

Hurley is a wholly owned subsidiary which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. Nike acquired the brand in the early 2000s.

According to Highsnobiety website, which specialises in lifestyle journalism, Bluestar is expected to introduce Hurley to new foreign markets and continue to groom it into a “360-degree lifestyle brand”.

Bluestar specialises in licensing, branding and marketing consumer brand companies. It manages and markets a portfolio of consumer brands including Bebe, Tahari, Kensie, Limited Too, Brookstone, Nanette Lepore, Catherine Malandrino, Joan Vass, English Laundry.

Bluestar brands’ sales are expected to exceed US$3 billion ($4.4 billion) in 2019.

Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed, and it is expected to be completed in December.

Zalando buffs its green image

Berlin-based Zalando, Europe’s biggest online-only fashion retailer, has announced plans to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide, eliminate single-use plastics in packaging and sell more shoes and garments made in a sustainable way.

With the announcement, Zalando is joining a number of other fashion players in seeking to bolster its environmental credentials as the sector frequently comes under attack for fuelling a throwaway culture.

“The fashion industry is facing sustainability challenges and we know we have been part of the problem. Going forward, our aspiration is to be part of the solution,” Zalando co-chief executive Rubin Ritter told Reuters.

The global production of clothes has doubled since 2002, mainly because people only keep garments half as long, Ritter said, noting that the fashion industry accounts for about 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and transportation for 14 per cent.

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