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Urban Outfitters to exit Chinese market in September

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

26 Aug 2021

Retail

Image: Urban Outfitters campaign

It has been a busy week for retailer Urban Oufitters, reporting stellar sales figures, a new re-sale platform and the latest, its exit from the Chinese market.

The Anthropologie-owned company said it was cease trading in China when it closes its Alibaba platform Tmall store on 12 September, when it would remove all its online products. Its customer service will remain available until 24 September.

The company said on its Weibo account that it would exit China as part of a new global strategy, and that the closing of its stores would be temporary, although a new date was not provided. Urban Outfitters currently has 1.14 million followers on its online Tmall store.

The Business of Fashion reported that “international mass market brands face serious challenges in China. Asos, New Look, Topshop and Old Navy have exited the market, C&A sold its China business last year, Bershka, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius, three Inditex brands, closed all of their physical stores and Mango has announced a moratorium on opening new stores. Meanwhile, H&M’s China sales fell 32 percent in the second quarter.”

Earlier this week Urban Outfitters CEO warned of trade disruptions and shipping delays of products from Asia to the U.S. and Europe. Richard Hayne told Bloomberg “our biggest concern right now is actually getting the inventory, not when it’s going to come in or how much it’s going to cost.” The Philadelphia-based company said it would ship goods via air freight, a more costly but reliable route to ensure products are delivered to its retail network in time for the autumn and Christmas peak.