SHANGHAI — Glamour Sales Holdings Ltd., the Asian-based e-commerce site specializing in flash sales that had partnered with Neiman Marcus Group Ltd. LLC to help launch its Chinese e-tailing site, has received a $65 million investment from Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Investec Bank Plc.
This story first appeared in the May 1, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Neiman Marcus has pulled its $38 million investment, representing a 44 percent stake, from Glamour Sales. Both Glamour Sales and Neiman Marcus confirmed that the investment has been retracted. NMG recently decided not to hold inventory in Chinese warehouses and instead to ship to Chinese customers from the U.S. Glamour Sales had been handling the fulfillment from China.
Glamour Sales executives declined to disclose the size of the new investors’ stake in the company. It makes them “one of the major partners of Glamour Sales Holdings,” said Alain Soulas, cofounder of Glamour Sales Asia.
The Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises is the parent of New World Development Co. Ltd., a developer of a number of malls in China, including the recently opened K11 art mall in Shanghai. The company plans to open nearly 20 art malls in China over the next decade. The concept, which mixes fashion with art installations, was first introduced by New World to Hong Kong in 2009. The company also owns Chow Tai Fook, the largest jewelry retailer in the world by market value.
Soulas said the partnership would be mutually beneficial, enabling the e-commerce company, which has operations in China and Japan, to tap into Chow Tai Fook Enterprises’ knowledge of Chinese luxury consumers while the Hong Kong-based group could learn more about online retail from Glamour Sales.
The partnership “will help in terms of our understanding of the luxury world,” Soulas said. “To understand better the Chinese consumer and their luxury behavior. It is changing everyday. Chinese consumers are still reluctant to buy full-priced luxury online, and we need to find that exact turning point when it will change. This kind of partner can help.”
Soulas declined to elaborate on the situation between Glamour Sales and NMG. “It was a good experience to work with them,” he said.
“To operate in China, you have to be very close to the consumer,” he said. “I don’t think it is really possible to operate outside of the country.”
According to Glamour Sales, the company has had an annual growth rate of 92 percent over the past four years. The e-commerce site is forecasting the sale of 2.4 million products this year and revenues of $155 million in 2014 compared to $82 million last year.