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A luxury sunglass maker expands online sales in China

May 12, 2015 10:31 AM
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Luxottica Group SpA has begun selling more of its shades on e-commerce site JD.com, No. 1 in Internet Retailer’s 2015 China 500, which ranks merchants by their online sales, JD.com announced yesterday. JD will begin selling such Luxottica brands as Vogue and Oakley eyeglasses. The Italian luxury eyewear maker already had a store on JD.com selling its Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Luxottica also sells Ray-Ban sunglasses on Tmall, the Alibaba Group web marketplace for larger brands that is a major competitor of JD.com.

In addition, Luxottica is planning to open an e-commerce site in China for its Sunglass Hut retail chain, a spokeswoman says. She did not say when. Sunglass Hut does not currently operate a web site of any kind in China. Luxottica’s LensCrafters operates 260 eyewear stores in China and has an informational site in the country, but consumers cannot buy products online.

About 2% of Luxottica’s revenue comes from China, the spokeswoman says. Luxottica entered China in 2006.

Luxottica subsidiary Sunglass Hut is one of the finalists for the Web Redesign of the Year Award, one of 10 Internet Retailer Excellence Awards that will be handed out June 3 at a banquet at annual e-commerce conference and trade show IRCE in Chicago.

JD.com will sell the new Luxottica merchandise directly, rather than Luxottica opening a branded storefront on JD.com’s retail site. JD.com will also handle fulfillment, making use of its 143 warehouses around China and its ability to deliver the same day an order is placed in large Chinese cities.

Luxottica’s deal with JD.com represents another step toward luxury brands selling more aggressively in China, particularly on JD.com, Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon.cn e-commerce site and Alibaba’s Tmall. Among the high-end Western brands that sell on Tmall are Apple and Burberry.

Alibaba and JD.com are competing aggressively to bring such prominent brands to their sites. Alibaba like eBay in that it does not own merchandise and only provides a platform for other retailers; JD.com is like Amazon in that it both provides a selling platform for other retailers and sells on its own behalf.

While JD.com is the leading retailer in terms of sales for which it is the merchant of record, the $366 billion Chinese consumers purchased last year on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces accounted for 81% of all online retail purchases in China. The value of goods purchased on JD.com totaled $41.9 billion, about 9% of China’s e-retail sales.

Chinese consumers are the leading buyers of luxury goods worldwide, although three-quarters of their premium-priced purchases are made abroad, according to the annual global luxury study by consulting firm Bain & Company.

 

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