Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : After China, Zara Expands Live Shopping Experiment to Europe, US

Shoppers walk past a Zara clothes store, part of the Spanish group Inditex, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, December 13, 2022. (Reuters)
Shoppers walk past a Zara clothes store, part of the Spanish group Inditex, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, December 13, 2022. (Reuters)
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After China, Zara Expands Live Shopping Experiment to Europe, US

Shoppers walk past a Zara clothes store, part of the Spanish group Inditex, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, December 13, 2022. (Reuters)
Shoppers walk past a Zara clothes store, part of the Spanish group Inditex, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, December 13, 2022. (Reuters)

Zara will expand its live shopping broadcasts to the UK, Europe and the United States this year, testing a format that is already wildly popular in China but one with which Western shoppers are less familiar.

The fast-fashion brand, whose parent Inditex reports quarterly results on Wednesday, is investing in new ways to engage shoppers as analysts expect sales to grow less strongly after an extraordinary post-pandemic surge.

Five-hour long live shopping shows in China, broadcast weekly on Douyin, TikTok's Chinese sister site, have helped boost Zara's sales since they launched in November, according to retail analytics firm EDITED, Reuters reported.

"We want to take this to the Western countries, where livestream is not as popular...but we think why not – from an entertainment perspective this is like an evolution," said a Zara spokesperson for the initiative, which is expected to launch between August and October.

Shopping as entertainment isn't new - TV shopping channels where viewers phoned in to buy featured products were popular for decades - but social media and ecommerce have triggered a new era of livestreaming, led by China where influencers sell everything from cosmetics to snacks at a frenetic pace.

Brands looking to create a more rarified experience have sought to do live shopping differently.

Zara's show on Douyin features Chinese models wearing Zara dresses, trying on shoes and jewellery. It also includes catwalk sequences and "backstage" make-up shots, while its conversational, leisurely style is in contrast to the hard-sell livestreams that hosts like "Lipstick King" Li Jiaqi are famous for.

A team of 70 people works on the live show, which is streamed from a 1,000-square metre space in Shanghai, switching angles between seven cameras, Zara said. On average, it attracts around 800,000 unique viewers per show.

"Zara's livestream approach built significant brand awareness in China," EDITED analyst Krista Corrigan said.

Zara sold out of most sizes in 50% more products in China in the first three months of this year than in the same period of 2023, according to EDITED data.

The livestream also allows Zara to reach shoppers even as its physical presence in China has shrunk from 570 stores in 2019 to just 192 as of Jan. 31 this year.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : LVMH Sales Grow 1% in Second Quarter, Missing Estimates

This photograph taken on January 25, 2024 shows the logo of World's top luxury group LVMH during presentation of its 2023 annual results in Paris, on January 25, 2024. (AFP)
This photograph taken on January 25, 2024 shows the logo of World's top luxury group LVMH during presentation of its 2023 annual results in Paris, on January 25, 2024. (AFP)
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LVMH Sales Grow 1% in Second Quarter, Missing Estimates

This photograph taken on January 25, 2024 shows the logo of World's top luxury group LVMH during presentation of its 2023 annual results in Paris, on January 25, 2024. (AFP)
This photograph taken on January 25, 2024 shows the logo of World's top luxury group LVMH during presentation of its 2023 annual results in Paris, on January 25, 2024. (AFP)

LVMH, the world's biggest luxury company, posted a 1% rise in organic sales in the second quarter on Tuesday, missing analyst estimates, and likely adding to investor jitters about slowing growth in the sector.

Sales at the French group, owner of labels Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Hennessy, grew to 20.98 billion euros ($22.8 billion), a 1% rise on an organic basis, which strips out currency effects and acquisitions.

The figure fell below analyst expectations for revenues of 21.6 billion euros, according to an LSEG poll based on six analysts.

The report from luxury sector bellwether LVMH, which is Europe's second-largest listed company, worth around 340 billion euros, comes amid concerns about weak sales of designer fashions in the sector's key market, China.

The group's fashion and leather goods division, which includes the Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior brands and accounts for nearly half of group sales and the bulk of operating profit, grew 1%, slowing slightly from the previous quarter's 2% rise.

"While remaining vigilant in the current context, the group approaches the second half of the year with confidence," said LVMH Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bernard Arnault in a statement.