Macy’s China completes closure, not renewing Tmall contract

Macy’s China stopped taking orders on Tmall this week and will close its operations by the end of the month.

The US department store business said it chose not to renew the contract with Alibaba’s Tmall which ends on December 31.

“We sincerely thank you for your support and love of Macy’s, and we will continue to provide services to you through the American website,” the US retailer said in a statement.

Just two years ago, in an interview, Macy’s China president Dustin Jones assured customers that the company would not leave China. “We will become [a] Chinese Macy’s,” he said, quoted in a newspaper report this week on Sina.

That comment followed the closure of the company’s brick-and-mortar stores in Mainland China. Macy’s subsequently closed its own China website last June.

Since 2015, the Macy’s China business has been operated in partnership with Hong Kong-based Fung Retailing.

Beijing-based retail analyst Liu Dingding told The Global Times that Macy’s China failed because it could not keep up with the fast-changing and diversified demands of Chinese consumers.

“The market in China is changing much faster than those in the US and Europe. These Western giants seem to react a bit slower than their Chinese counterparts,” said Liu.

Securing a local partner was one way of ensuring success in the market – as WalMart and Carrefour’s partnerships with Tencent have shown, said Liu. That way they can localise their offer and learn from Chinese experience.

“[Western retailers] have built up operating experience with years of success back home. But before applying this experience in their Chinese operations [they should] respect Chinese culture, hire more Chinese executives and try to adjust the way that they have operated for years back home.

“That’s the first step to gaining a foothold in the Chinese market,” Liu told The Global Times.

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