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M&S's Chinese clothing sales soar through Alibaba

Alibaba-owned ecommerce site Tmall has boosted Marks & Spencer’s online clothing sales in China, with 44% of the British retailer’s dress sales in the country now made through this platform.

M&S, which launched on Tmall in December 2012, said it is the fastest growing international womenswear brand on the site, although it declined to provide further details regarding how much the sales have grown by on the platform.

M&S sells 2,000 lines on the site, including womenswear, menswear, kidswear, lingerie and food through the platform, attracting more than 250,000 visitors each week.

The retailer has 15 wholly-owned stores in China; 75% of its online sales in the country are from cities where it does not have a store presence.

Ricky Wilson, head of M&S’s overseas internet business, said: “We have adopted a tailored market-by-market approach to international ecommerce and, in a complex market like China, forming a partnership with Tmall has enabled us to benefit from its scale, infrastructure and local insight.”

Alibaba raised $21.8bn (£13.3bn) when it floated on the New York stock exchange last week (September 19) in what was the world’s largest IPO, surpassing the $15bn (£8.8bn) that social networking site Facebook raised in 2012.

Revenue for Alibaba surged by 46% for the quarter to June 30 thanks to strong gains in the company’s mobile business, leading to net profit almost tripling to $1.9bn (£1.1bn).

Alibaba controls around 80% of China’s ecommerce market through its Tmall and Taobao sites, with almost $250bn (£147.2bn) worth of goods sold through its websites last year.

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