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Shein And Forever 21 To Go Into Business Together 

Fast fashion retailers Shein and Forever 21 are going into business together in a new partnership agreement that was announced last Thursday. 

Under the agreement, Shein will acquire around one-third of the interest in Sparc Group, Forever 21’s operator. Sparc will also become a minority shareholder in Shein. 

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In a joint release statement, the companies stated that the deal is expected to expand Forever 21’s distribution on Shein’s global e-commerce platform, which has around 150 million online users. The partnership will also “offer the opportunity to test” Shein product sales and returns in physical Forever 21 stores across the US. 

Forever 21 currently has over 540 locations worldwide and online, and the specific financial details have not been disclosed in the statement. 

Sparc is a joint venture company that also includes mall operator Simon Property Group and brand development company Authentic Brands Group. Sparc also distributes apparel for brands like Eddie Bauer, Reebok, and Aéropostale. 

Shein has had a major rise in popularity in the US due to their low-cost apparel and items. 

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, according to AP, says that “the new partnership makes sense for both parties — Forever 21, which still struggles some in the fast-fashion world, could see fast growth on Shein’s sizeable online platform and that Shein will also hope that the addition of a well-known American name will help to lessen focus on its manufacturing practices, which have come under scrutiny.”

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Both Shein and Forever 21 are also no stranger to controversy over the way they run their businesses. Between the environmental impact of the way the clothes are produced and distributed and the allegations of unethical labor practices, fast fashion companies have been consistently called out. 

There’s been many ongoing conversations and concerns from lawmakers and advocacy groups over the unethical practices that occur within these facilities. 

According to the Associated Press: “In May, a bipartisan group of two dozen lawmakers asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to put the brakes on an initial public offering by Shein until it verified that it does not use forced labor from the country’s predominantly Muslim Uyghur population. A June Congressional report also unloaded a blistering critique of Shein and another Chinese fashion retailer, Temu — which sued Shein last month, accusing its rival of violating U.S. antitrust law by preventing garment makers from working with it.”

Back in June Shein said that “the company’s policy is to comply with the customs and import laws of the countries in which we operate. [We have} zero tolerance for forced labor and have implemented a robust system to ensure compliance with U.S. law.”

When speaking of the partnership, Saunders said, “while both Shein and Forever 21 are expected to benefit from the newly-announced partnership, Shein still has an advantage as it is operating from a position of strength and is already taking share away from Forever 21, and others. This is something of an admission by Forever 21 that it is not able to engineer growth in its own business in the way that it would like. There is an element of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’”

Cyber Monday

Consumers Spent $9.4 Billion During Cyber Monday This Year

The holiday shopping season has officially kicked off with one of the most chaotic weekends for retail and online stores everywhere. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and finally Cyber Monday truly did set the tone for how intense holiday gift shopping is looking to be in the coming month. According to data curated by Adobe, Cyber Monday in particular broke e-commerce records, as shoppers in the United States spent about $9.4 billion online this year! 

According to the same data, Americans spent close to $1.5 billion more than they did last year; granted $3 billion of the money spent this year was on smartphones alone, another record broken for the smartphone industry. Technology has truly developed and thrived this year, so it makes sense that a hefty percentage of spending was on smartphones and other electronics that were on sale this Monday. 

During the peak times of online traffic, consumers were collectively spending $12 million every minute. After this weekend, US online shoppers have spent close to $82 billion since the beginning of November on their holiday shopping.  Representatives from Adobe said that the original forecast for Cyber Monday Sales didn’t exceed $8 billion, even with the massive amount of money consumers have already spent before this past weekend. 

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“That’s despite very aggressive pricing on the part of online sellers. “Retailers unlocked sales earlier to combat a shorter shopping season, while continuing to drive up promotion of the big branded days including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consumers capitalized on deals and ramped up spending, especially on smartphones, where activity increased on days when shoppers were snowed or rained in,” said John Copeland, head of Marketing and Consumer Insights at Adobe, in a statement.

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According to Tech Crunch Magazine, the top items sold this year on Cyber Monday included Frozen 2 merchandise, LOL Surprise Dolls, NERF products, Nintendo products, Star Wars merchandise, Samsung TV’s, Amazon Fire TV, Airpods, and air fryers. A diverse group of products for sure, but when we think about where each of these products fall demographic wise, it makes a lot of sense. Of course, smartphones also took a top spot, accounting for almost a third of the total money spent, sending overall smartphone sales for the year up 46%. 

Cyber Monday has been slowly taking the crown from Black Friday in terms of significant shopping days during this Thanksgiving weekend. More and more consumers are embracing the digital age and staying home instead of getting up early to go to the store and wait for hours in line to get a TV on sale that they could just buy for the same reduced price online that upcoming Monday. Additionally, this year the winter weather hit a lot of the US hard during Thanksgiving weekend, so customers were even less inclined to leave their homes, and more inclined to shop online. 

“Online shopping received some unexpected boosts this holiday season. Retailer fears of a shorter season meant that deals came much sooner than usual, and consumers took notice. In some areas of the country, adverse weather in the form of snow and heavy rain meant that many opted to stay home instead and grabbed the best deals online. Just look at Black Friday, which brought in $7.4 billion online and is just below last year’s Cyber Monday at $7.9 billion,” said Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst and head of Adobe Digital Insights.

With online retail growing everyday, it makes perfect sense that Cyber Monday brought in so much money this year. Tech Crunch predicts that in total consumers will spend $14 billion more than they did this year on their online shopping alone. It’s truly beginning to look a lot like Christmas.