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Sep 232014

Marks & Spencer’s Online Sales in China Surge After Deal to Sell Through Internet Giant Alibaba

Marks & Spencer’s online sales in China have surged after it penned a deal to sell its clothes through internet giant Alibaba.

  • M&S sells its clothes through Alibaba‘s subsidiary, Tmall. Almost half its dress sales in China are online. It is apparently the fastest growing womens wear brand on Tmall.
  • Marks & Spencer signed up to Tmall in December 2012 and has 15 shops in China.

Shares in Alibaba were on course to become the biggest ever initial public offering in history on Thursday 18th Sept 2014, when $21.8?billion (£13.4?billion) worth were sold in New York. They then soared on their first appearance on Friday.

Head of Marks & Spencer’s overseas internet business Ricky Wilson, said: ‘Tmall accounts for 50 per cent of all clothing and footwear purchases made in China, providing international brands with a huge opportunity to reach China’s growing middle classes.’ He added that a quarter of Marks & Spencer’s sales on Tmall are from customers in the Greater Shanghai area.

Wilson, said: ‘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’.

The New York stock market launch initially raised $21.8?billion for the company (Alibaba), which was founded by entrepreneur Jack Ma, a former English teacher.

Underwriters for Alibaba are also expected to exercise an option to take an additional 48 million shares, to bring the total value of shares sold to about $25?billion – making it the largest IPO in history.

The shares rose 38 per cent on Friday 19th Sept 2014, valuing the whole company at more than $230?billion (£140?billion) and knocking Amazon off the top spot as the most valuable internet firm in the world.

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