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UK retailers celebrate record Singles' Day

UK retailers enjoyed another hugely successful day of trading on Alibaba’s ecommerce platform Tmall during Chinese shopping holiday Singles’ Day last week (11 November). 

11.11 gala venue 111116

11.11 gala venue 111116

The venue for this year’s Singles’ Day Gala 

The Chinese platform amassed a record $17.8bn (£13.6bn) in sales during the annual shopping festival. It raked in $5bn (£4bn) within the first hour alone.

New Look said it observed “spectacular” growth, particularly in accessories and footwear. Sven Gaede, managing director for Europe and partnerships, told Drapers: “We saw numbers that were over double and in fact almost triple what they wear on the equivalent day last year.

“We put forward a strong product offer but I don’t think even we were expecting it to be as successful as it turned out to be. It shows us there’s room to go even bigger next year.”

Marks & Spencer, which signed up to Tmall in 2012, said it also experienced double digit growth compared with last year’s event, receiving 147,000 orders throughout the day. Kidswear performed particularly well, accounting for a third of sales – belted raincoats, kids’ bodysuits and cashmere jumpers were among the retailer’s best-selling products.

A Topshop spokesman said sales were “significantly” up on last year, driven by denim and styles from within its Petite range.

Luxury fashion brands also stepped up their Singles’ Day offering this year despite historically avoiding the discounting day, according to research from ecommerce consultancy Clavis. Brands including Coach, Bally, Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein offered up to 60% off handbags and watches.

Demi Ping, retail sector advisor for the China-Britain Business Council, said retailers had focused more on marketing strategies than heavy discounting for Singles’ Day this year.

“Marketing strategies for this year have evolved from clearance Sales and price wars. The annual ’Double 11’ shopping spree is no longer just a price war for consumer goods. It is becoming more of a shopping carnival off and online.”

Singles’ Day was created in 1993 as an ode to the growing number of Chinese singletons, but was adapted by Alibaba in 2009 to become a consumer shopping event.


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