Here’s what you should know today.

1. Ecommerce help drives Uniqlo’s profits outside Japan

Fast Retailing, the company operating the Uniqlo chains, booked a net profit of 97.23 billion yen ($890 million) for the 6 months through February – almost doubling down from 40.78 billion yen . Overseas market were the main growth drivers. 

The operating profit for its overseas store rose 66% to 48.77 billion yen. The profit for its Japanese outlets increased 7% to 68.78 billion.

According to Tadashi Yanai, chairman and president of the company, profits from China and Southeast Asia significantly contributes.

In China, the spread of ecommerce and localised campaigns tied to China’s national holiday has helped its business. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia regional items including summer wear and hijabs for Muslim women sold well.

Uniqlo has 1.029 stores outside Japan, the total figures for these countries increased by 51 during the six months. In Japan, they have 832 stores.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Prada turns to ecommerce as its offline sales waning

Italian luxury fashion brand Prada will expand its online sales platform to offer more products and reach new markets as they’re experiencing a decrease in their offline sales.

Online stores for China, South Korea, Russia and New Zealand will be opened by the end of the year and they will expand their ecommerce operations further next year. 

The range of products available will also be expanded to fit its offline stores. The company will also limit new openings of flagship stores.

Prada reported a net store increase of just two last fiscal year and its sales fell 10% last fiscal year to 13.8 billion euros. Their overall operating profit slipped 14% to 431 million euros.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. Online grocers HappyFresh marks its second anniversary by building more partnerships

Launched in 2015, HappyFresh marks its second anniversary by building more partnerships with suppliers, listening to customers and improving services. 

They are now partnering with seven supermarkets in Indonesia with 62,000 products available and more than 50 active stores in the app.

They note the importance to have a long-term and “in-depth” relationships with their partners to improve service and customer experience. The online grocer employs a pool of trained personal shoppers, drivers and customer service staff.

For personal shoppers, they provide approximately two weeks of training which includes teaching them how to use their native shoppers and drivers apps, as well as basic English language.

“Even though most of our customers are locals, we realised that it will be difficult for those who do not speak Bahasa Indonesia and this is also good for our shoppers’ development,” said Filippo Candrini, Managing Director of HappyFresh Indonesia.

Read the rest of the story here.

Before you head out to start your weekend, here are today’s top ecommerce stories.

1. Uniqlo China launches click and collect

Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo China casual-clothing chain has launched its click-and-collect service so online customers can pick up their orders at a store. With delayed deliveries a problem in China, Uniqlo says it sees a lot of promise in the new service.

Would this feature possibly work in Uniqlo’s Southeast Asian stores?

Read the rest of the story here


2. An organization you should know: CCIF & its partnership with Alibaba

CCIF was one of the first charities in China to approach Alibaba, for sponsorship. The gamble paid off as they worked with Taobao to create the “Loving Heart” program, which allows merchants to donate a small amount from each of their products sold to the charity.

They were one of the first charities to setup an e-channel for donations with Alipay. To date, CCIF has raised over $10 million and has distributed over 1.3 million insurance cards to people in need.

Read about the organization’s journey here.


3. Recommended Reading: Thailand’s online retail market is bracing for stiffer business conditions in 2017

Punnamas Vichitkulwongsa, chief executive of Ascend Group, the parent firm of Ascend Commerce, says Thailand’s online retail market is expected to grow by 30% over the next few years, fueled by increasing  smartphone penetration and intense competition among ecommerce operators.

Read the rest of the story here.

SingPost ecommerce delivered positive sales growth in the last quarter by 30.9% to $248 million (S333.4 million), but saw a decrease in net profit by 23%.

The increase reflects expansion in cross border ecommerce activities, as well as the integration of new US subsidiaries TradeGlobal and Jagged Peak. Both of these companies run ecommerce fulfillment and logistics operations, acquired in November 2015 and March 2016, respectively. The company recently won Japanese fashion brand UNIQLO’s ecommerce business in Thailand.

Ecommerce related revenues more than doubled from $54.3 million to $122 million. They now make up 49.3 % of Group revenue, up from 28.7% last year. 

Ecommerce related revenues now make up 49.3% of the total Group revenue, up from 28.7% last year. 

Logistics revenue rose 11.9% to $116.7 million, with steady organic growth at Quantium Solutions and CouriersPlease, as well as the inclusion of a new subsidiary under Famous Holdings. Increased cross border ecommerce related activities led postal revenues to a 1.5% rise, indicating an increased demand of cross border services. 

Increased cross border ecommerce related activities led postal revenues to a 1.5% rise, indicating an increased demand of cross border services. 

Total expenses increased 33.6%, driven largely by growth in international mail traffic and ecommerce logistics volumes that reflect the change in the Group’s business mix.

Net profit attributable to equity holders declined 23.0% to S$35.9 million, due largely to one-off gains from the divestments of Novation Solutions and DataPost HK in the corresponding period last year.

From the SingPost Press Release:

Underlying net profit, which excludes one-off items, was down 11.2%, due to investments in business transformation. Rental income declined as the Singapore Post Centre (“SPC”) retail mall is being redeveloped, while depreciation charges were incurred for the Regional ecommerce Logistics Hub, which obtained a Temporary Occupation Permit in April 2016.

SingPost also continued to invest in ecommerce IT and operational capabilities. Mr Mervyn Lim, Covering Group Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are investing in our business transformation and that will take time to contribute materially to earnings. We are focused on executing our strategy to create value from our acquisitions and build an integrated global ecommerce logistics ecosystem. SingPost’s strategy to protect the postal core and grow its ecommerce logistics network remains on track.”

The good news will be welcomed by SingPost, following the company’s spell of negative headlines regarding internal investigation over board members, and the stepping down of Director Keith Tay in May.

Access the press release here

By Anutra Chatikavanij & Felicia Moursalien


UNIQLO, Japan’s global fashion label, will open an online store for the Thai market next Friday, in a move that will complement its physical stores by offering unlimited items, nationwide coverage and around-the-clock access to consumers.

Chanvit Khieonavavongsa, marketing and public relations director and head of ecommerce at UNIQLO Thailand, said the ecommerce channel is a means of answering the demand for broader coverage, since the firm has consistently received queries from consumers who do not live in those areas where it has branches

Entering the Thai market nearly five years ago, UNIQLO currently has 32 physical branches in nine provinces, covering around one-third of the population.

Chanvit said the online channel would not, however, decelerate UNIQLO’s expansion of its physical outlets in the Kingdom.

The Thai online store is the Japanese fashion label’s 12th worldwide, following similar stores launched in Singapore in 2014 and in Malaysia last year.

UNIQLO has assigned Singapore Post to handle logistics and delivery for orders placed via the Thai online store, with guaranteed nationwide delivery of between one and three days. The company charges no delivery fee, while the packaging charge is waived for orders of above 1,500 THB.

Thailand’s Internet penetration rate is expected to reach 56% this year, or 36 million people, growing over 20% from last year, while about 42% of Internet users have experienced buying online.

The estimated value of the Thai ecommerce market last year was 1.2 trillion THB, up 3.65% from the 2014 level. Beauty and fashion together accounted for 42.6% of all online transactions. Chanvit said UNIQLO sales in Thailand so far this year were still in line with its target.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on July 23. Read the full version here.