Abercrombie Looking to Alibaba for Sales in China

The retailer is set to launch on Tmall later this month.

Having called off its sale process, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is forging ahead and will start selling styles from its namesake brand on Tmall, Alibaba’s giant e-commercesite.

The brand will sell its full line, along with Abercrombie Kids, on China’s Tmall starting Wednesday, giving it access to Alibaba’s 454 million active users. Abercrombie affiliate Hollister has been selling on Tmall since 2014.

Last week, Abercrombie said it had decided to end talks with parties interested in buying the company and would focus on the execution of a new business plan, which includes an updated target consumer who is in their twenties.

Linking up with Tmall is seen by Abercrombie as a step toward this new target, and the company noted that 75 percent of Alibaba’s users are under 35. Alibaba will also be helping Abercrombie take an omnichannel approach in the region, making use of the 10 stores the brand already has in the region.

“Building on our Hollister brand’s successful partnership with the leader in China’s online retail space, we are excited to bring our A&F brand experience to the broader Chinese market, beyond the reach of our physical stores through Tmall,” said Fran Horowitz, chief executive officer of Abercrombie.

Jessica Liu, president of Tmall’s fashion segment, said Abercrombie is a brand that Chinese consumers “have sought out for some time” and noted the new partnership will further its international growth.

Earlier this year, Abercrombie and Hollister joined Zalora, an e-commerce web site launched 2012 that sells in 11 Asian countries, including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan, making the brands available to Zolara’s 600 million customers.

In the U.S., Abercrombie is in the process of sharpening its retail footprint, closing about 60 stores this year.

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