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

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. 

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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.