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High-end home appliances and camping gear were among Chinese shoppers' most sought after buys during the "618" shopping festival, according to ecommerce platforms, in a sign of how China's COVID-19 curbs are driving lifestyle changes.
The event was the first major shopping festival to take place since several Chinese cities, including Shanghai, were hit by a series of lockdowns to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Consumption in China remains weak as shoppers were confined to their homes in Shanghai and other cities. Retail sales slipped another 6.7% in May from a year earlier, on top of a 11.1% contraction the previous month.
Sales for e-commerce giant JD.com, which first created the event in 2004, grew at their slowest pace ever to hit 379.3 billion yuan ($56.74 billion) in a sign of how recent lockdowns and slowing economic conditions have hurt spending.
Consumption in China remains weak with retail sales in May slipping 6.7% from a year earlier, on top of an 11.1% contraction the previous month.
Still, JD.com said its sales of gaming projectors and 4K high-definition projectors increased 10 times during the event, while air fryers jumped five times. Slim fridges - favoured by shoppers with small homes - saw sales triple from the previous year.
"Due to the epidemic, some consumers saw their living space become smaller and this led them to spend some thought on adding some 'sparks' to their lives," said JD.com, in a post on its WeChat account on Sunday.
Alibaba Group said that Italian luxury coffee machine brand La Marzocco saw a six-fold increase in sales on the first day of its Tmall marketplace's 618 event compared with the previous year. The platforms also reported a surge in sales for camping gear and outdoor equipment, fuelled by the growing popularity of outdoor activities especially among city-dwellers who have had to endure two years of restrictive pandemic curbs.
Camping-related products more than tripled in terms of sales on Tmall during its first round of 618 sales from the evening of May 31 to June 3, Alibaba said, with a new 2022 series of fishing reel by Japanese high-end fishing gear brand Daiwa, priced at more than 5,000 yuan, selling out within seconds.
In addition, rising health awareness during the pandemic also pushed people to stockpile health products, JD.com said, citing surging sales of organic milk, high-end teas and fitness drinks. ($1 = 6.6871 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh)
Trending in Retail Channels
On the Move has the latest from Amazon, Lovesac and more.
This week, leadership is changing at GameStop, Sorel and Beautycounter. Meanwhile, key executives are departing at Amazon, Wayfair and Lovesac.
Here’s a look at the latest shuffles:
GameStop CEO fired
GameStop announced the termination of Matthew Furlong as CEO on Wednesday. A brief statement did not provide a reason for the firing.
With the move, Chewy founder and activist investor Ryan Cohen was named executive chairman of the video game retailer. Cohen will be responsible for capital allocation and overseeing management.
It came as the company reported a 10% year-over-year decline in net sales for the first quarter. Meanwhile, the company’s net loss improved by 62%.
In an SEC filing, GameStop further added this “We believe the combination of these efforts to stabilize and optimize our core business and achieve sustained profitability while also focusing on capital allocation under Mr. Cohen’s leadership will further unlock long-term value creation for our stockholders.”
Cohen was revealed as GameStop's largest shareholder when he disclosed a 10% stake in the retailer in 2020. GameStop went on to become a leading name in the meme stock rise of 2021.
Sorel president steps down
Mark Nenow is stepping down as president of the Sorel brand in order to focus on his health.
After rising to the role in 2015, Nenow spearheaded a transformation of Columbia Sportswear-owned Sorel from a men’s workwear brand to a fashion-focused brand that led with a women’s offering of boots, sandals and sneakers.
“Mark led the brand to sales of $347 million in net sales in 2022,” said Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, in a statement. “His leadership has been invaluable to this company, and we wish him the very best.”
Columbia will conduct a search for Nenow’s replacement. Craig Zanon, the company’s SVP of emerging brands, will lead Sorel in the interim.
Beautycounter appoints interim CEO
Beautycounter appointed board member Mindy Mackenzie as interim CEO, succeeding Marc Rey. According to the brand, Rey and the board “mutually decided to transition to a new phase of leadership for Beautycounter.”
McKenzie, a former executive at Carlyle, McKinsey and Jim Beam, will lead the company as it conducts a search for a permanent CEO. Additionally, former Natura & Co CEO Roberto Marques will join Beautycounter’s board as chair.
As part of the transition, Nicole Malozi is also joining the company as chief financial officer. She brings experience from Tatcha, Nike, and DFS Group Limited.
Amazon’s North America fulfillment chief departs
Melissa Nick, a VP of customer fulfillment for North America at Amazon, will leave the company, effective June 16, CNBC reported. Nick joined the company in 2014, and oversaw a region that included nearly 300 fulfillment centers. After doubling its supply chain footprint during the pandemic, Amazon recently reorganized its fulfillment operations to take a regional approach, as opposed to a national model that often resulted in items shipping across the country.
Wayfair’s chief commercial officer to retire
Jon Blotner (Courtesy photo)
Steve Oblak will retire from the role of chief commercial officer at home goods marketplace Wayfair. With the move, Jon Blotner will be promoted to chief commercial officer.
"Steve has served as a critical part of our leadership team and played a pivotal role in Wayfair's growth, helping us grow from a $250 million business when he joined to $12 billion in net revenue today,” said Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah, in a statement. “He oversaw countless milestones, from helping to launch the Wayfair brand as we brought together hundreds of sites into a single platform, to launching new categories, business lines, and geographies while overseeing our North American and European businesses, to leading our debut into physical retail.”
Blotner previously oversaw exclusive and specialty retail brands, as well as digital media at Wayfair. Before joining the company, he served as president of Gemvara.com prior to its 2016 acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway.
Lovesac announces CFO transition
Furniture retailer Lovesac said Donna Dellomo will retire as EVP and CFO, and move to an advisory role, effective June 30. Dellomo was with Lovesac for six years.
Keith Siegner was appointed as the next EVP and CFO. He brings experience as CFO of esports company Vindex, as well as executive roles at Yum! Brands, UBS Securities and Credit Suisse.
Additionally, Jack Krause will retire from the role of chief strategy officer, effective June 30. His responsibilities will be divided between CEO Shawn Nelson and president Mary Fox.
“Since joining Lovesac, Jack has played an instrumental role in transforming the Company into a true omni channel retailer by helping expand our physical touchpoints and digital platform as we continue to disrupt the industry,” said Nelson, in a statement.
NRF adds board members
The National Retail Federation announced the addition of five new board members. They include:
- Marguerite Adzick, founder and CEO, Addison Bay
- Harley Finkelstein, president, Shopify
- Ian Kahn, partner, PwC
- Sharon Leite, CEO, Ideal Image
- Carrie Tharp, VP, strategic industries, Google Cloud