Chinese customers return Tiffany to profit Iconic US luxury jeweller Tiffany has returned to profit in the second quarter, aided by a massive sales boost in Mainland China. “Retail sales in Mainland China began to rebound in April and continued to accelerate in the month of May, during which retail sales increased approximately 90 per cent as compared with the same period in the prior year,” said CEO Alessandro Bogliolo. “This robust recovery continued throughout the balance of the s
of the second quarter with retail sales up approximately 80 per cent for the full quarter as compared with the same period in the prior year.” Tiffany’s second-quarter worldwide net sales declined 29 per cent from the prior year to $747 million and comparable sales declined 24 per cent from the prior year. Net earnings of $32 million were down by 77 per cent against the previous year’s $136 million. But that marked a welcome return to profit after a torrid, Covid-19-hit first quarter. For the half year to July 31, worldwide net sales declined 37 per cent year-on-year to $1.3 billion and comparable sales declined 34 per cent. The company reported a net loss of $33 million, compared with net earnings of $262 million the prior year. 7-Eleven makes its mark in Laos Thailand’s CP Group is taking the 7-Eleven convenience-store chain into Laos after winning franchise rights for the country, with the first 7-Eleven in Laos to open in the capital city, Vientiane, in 2022. Under the agreement, CP Group’s subsidiary, CP All, will oversee store construction and start to modernise the small retail environment, according to the company. The 7-Eleven Laos network will offer international products, beverages, snacks and consumable fresh foods with recipes developed for regional tastes. CP All now holds franchise rights for 7-Eleven in three Southeast Asian countries, with Laos following Thailand and Cambodia. Laos will be the 7-Eleven’s 20th international market. TWG Tea expands online Singaporean luxury teahouse chain TWG Tea is expanding its digital footprint, with more than 20 new online stores scheduled to open this year. The brand was established in 2007 as a subsidiary of a Singaporean lifestyle company The Wellness Group, from which the acronym, TWG, was derived. TWG Tea’s online stores will be rolled out across Asia Pacific, North America and Europe on third-party marketplaces, including Amazon, Zalora and Lazada. The company said more products will be exclusively launched online, including its Autumn Haute Couture Tea blends, New World Tea and Destiny Tea. “We know that even during this pandemic, demand for TWG Tea is high,” said Maranda Barnes, co-founder of TWG Tea. “With this in mind, we went the extra mile to reach out to consumers through some of their preferred third-party online platforms in each of our markets.” TWG Tea operates 68 tea Salons and boutiques in 19 countries and has nine online “flagship stores”. Its teas are available at David Jones stores in Australia and some airport locations. AS Watson study: Customers eager to return to shops Despite the exponential growth of e-commerce during the pandemic, with even many sceptical consumers taking to shopping online, it seems people are eager to get back into stores, according to a survey from health and beauty retailer AS Watson. The brand surveyed 22,000 shoppers across more than 20 markets throughout Asia and Europe. Although most respondents confirmed an intention to stick with e-commerce, an unexpected 100 per cent of respondents said they would still go back to physical stores for shopping. One-third said they will shop in stores more often. “While the pandemic accelerated e-commerce growth and technological developments, the crisis has underlined customers’ desire for human connections, and for the future of retail, these bonds will become even more important,” said AS Watson group COO Malina Ngai. The survey also revealed that in the Mainland Chinese market, Gen Z now has the greatest spending power, with annual spending reaching the equivalent of US$585 billion, representing 13 per cent of national household consumption. Research indicates that this cohort pays attention to ingredients and provenance of products, not just to just price and efficacy. Hong Kong sales down 23 per cent Hong Kong retail sales fell 23.1 per cent in July, the 18th straight month of declines, as Covid-19 restrictions stopped tourism and closed many retail operations. July tourist arrivals plummeted 99.6 per cent year on year, down for 13th consecutive month; following on from that, sales of jewellery and watches were down 53.7 per cent year on year, Reuters reports. Despite these numbers, the overall sales decline was sharper than expected, given that July last year marked the beginning of the tumultuous social unrest sparked by China’s proposed anti-extradition law, thus creating a lower base for this year’s July figures. Small, sporadic anti-government protests have continued to weigh on business activity in the city, and the coronavirus crisis has pushed many retailers and restaurant operators to the brink of collapse. Hong Kong has cut its economic outlook for the year, saying a recovery from recession depends on how fast it can get a new wave of coronavirus infections under control. A government spokesman said that while Hong Kong’s Covid-19 situation had stabilised since July, potentially improving consumer sentiment, the retail business environment will continue to be “very difficult in the near term” so long as inbound tourism remains at a standstill. Frasers launches e-commerce app Property developer Frasers is launching an e-commerce marketplace in Singapore called Frasers eStore, offering a “store-to-door experience” for tenants and consumers. This comes as the company saw an uptrend in online shopping and an increasing need for businesses to make their products and services available both in-store and online. It aims to empower its tenants to embrace digitalisation with the new platform, and help them provide consumers with an omnichannel retail experience, Singapore website Marketing reports. The service, which commences next month, uses the Frasers app, which the company says gives it a potential membership of more than 800,000 shoppers as it has integrated two loyalty programs. The app is launching with 200 merchants already on board. Consumers will be able to use the marketplace to browse and purchase products from tenants across all Frasers Property Retail malls. Members can place a single consolidated order from multiple tenants in a mall, delivered as a package to their doorstep after processing by a delivery partner. “The launch of Frasers eStore marks the natural next step in our digital-transformation journey with our tenants to further support them as they embrace digital solutions to find additional avenues to market their products, while adapting to changing consumer behaviours,” said Frasers Property Retail COO Tan Kee Yong.