Everlane will close its Tmall Global store on Sept. 12, and has already ceased selling via its WeChat mini-programme, citing the Covid-19 pandemic and an adjustment in global strategy as contributing factors, according to notices posted to its official Chinese social media accounts.
The brand becomes the second US retailer to exit China in recent weeks, following Urban Outfitters’ decision to close its Tmall store in late August. Neither brand had any physical retail footprint in the country.
The statement from Everlane described the shuttering of its Tmall Global store as “temporary” and stressed that Chinese customers would still be able to buy Everlane products via its global e-commerce site. The Tmall Global store, which opened in almost exactly two years ago, currently has around 530,000 followers. Though sales will halt on Sept. 12, customer service will still be operational until Oct. 10.
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, though the fall was largely attributed to the controversy over its stance on the use of Xinjiang cotton.
In spite of these challenges, China’s $200 billion apparel market remains coveted, and foreign fast fashion players will continue to try and find ways to crack it. On Aug. 4, Forever 21 announced its return to China for the third time, licensing its operations to Lasonic Limited. Its first foray this time around involves selling on flash sales and group buying platforms, Vipshop and Pinduoduo, while planning to open a Tmall store and physical outlets in the future.
The US retailer issued a statement on Tmall on Wednesday announcing its flagship store on the platform would shut down. Its products will be removed from sale on Sept. 12 and customer service will remain operational until Sept. 24.