Online retailer Vipshop buys Chinese retail outlet portfolio for US$422m

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Online discount retailer Vipshop has bought a portfolio of five retail outlets in China for RMB 2.9bn (US$421.7m), as more e-commerce players expand into traditional retail.

Vipshop acquired the retail outlet business Shan Shan Commercial Group from Ningbo Xingtong Chuangfu Equity Investment Partnership and Shan Shan Group, according to a statement.

Headquartered in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, the newly-acquired company operates outlets in Ningbo, Taiyuan, Harbin, Zhengzhou, and Nanchang, with another five outlets in the pipeline.

“This represents another milestone in our efforts to explore online and offline integration in our core business,” said Vipshop chairman and CEO Eric Shen.

“Through this highly strategic transaction, we will gain presence in the offline outlet business in China, which further enhances our ecosystem and fortifies our leading position in China’s discount retail segment. We look forward to working with the Shan Shan Outlets team and welcoming them to the Vipshop family.”

The deal comes as many online retailers increasingly look to traditional bricks-and-mortar retail for new growth opportunities and supply chain innovations.

Just last month, Chinese e-commerce player took over French retailer Carrefour’s portfolio of 210 hypermarkets and convenience stores across China for €620m (US$704m).

The online giant also snapped up Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda’s entire Chinese department store portfolio, comprising 37 sites, in February this year.

Real estate investors are also betting on the retail sector in China, with Blackstone acquiring half stakes in shopping centres located in Xi’an and Zhengzhou earlier this year.

Hong Kong-listed Link REIT purchased the Centralwalk shopping centre in the heart of Shenzhen’s CBD for US$982m earlier this year, as well as buying the Beijing Jingtong Roosevelt Plaza retail property in the capital for US$375m late last year.