Macy's Is Heading to China — Online, At Least

The venture could deliver $50 million in sales next year, execs estimate.
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Eliza Brooke
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The venture could deliver $50 million in sales next year, execs estimate.
A Macy's shopper hits the street. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A Macy's shopper hits the street. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Macy's may have international shipping, but the department store chain has now decided to make a concerted push in the market that's got every retailer strategizing: China. The company, which made the announcement in conjunction with the release of its latest financial figures on Wednesday, said that it plans to begin a Chinese e-commerce pilot program by late 2015. 

Macy's isn't going it alone, though. Its foray into China is a joint venture with Fung Retailing Limited, a private company based in Hong Kong, and its products will live on Alibaba's Tmall, a massively popular e-commerce destination that could lend Macy's better visibility among consumers there. All of the merchandise on the site, Macy's says, will be curated specifically for the market; fulfillment, too, will take place from Hong Kong, where "Macy's China Limited" will be headquartered.

The e-commerce effort in China should deliver about $50 million in sales during 2016, execs said on a webcast Wednesday morning. And while establishing a presence there could help win over Chinese shoppers at home, the hope is that acquainting them with the brand online will also boost sales Stateside among Chinese tourists and residents. 

And they could use the lift. Macy's pulled in $6.1 billion in sales during the second quarter of the year, which ended Aug. 1 — down from $6.26 billion during the same time last year.