(Yicai Global) Dec. 21 -- CK Hutchison Holdings' health care and beauty product retailer Watsons has pared down its online sales channels recently, closing its overseas flagship stores on Tmall and JD.Com and now selling imported goods only on its official flagship stores.
Closing stores is normal market behavior, and the purpose is to better centralize resources. The brand will continue to provide consumers with high-quality products and convenient services through its official flagship stores on Tmall and JD.com in the future," the Hong Kong-based company told Jiemian News yesterday.
The homepages of Watson's overseas flagship stores on Tmall and JD.Com have posted closure notices in which the two outlets announce they will stop receiving orders and shutter up shop at one minute before midnight on Dec. 27.
The two outlets have made sales promotions and offered discounts before the closure. The platforms gave out many coupons and offered great sales promotions during the Double 12 shopping carnival this year. Some consumers were even able to buy cosmetics worth CNY745 (USD108) for only CNY43 (USD6.20).
Watsons' overseas flagship stores mostly sell overseas goods in the form of cross-border e-commerce on platforms; while its official flagship stores focus on goods for domestic consumers.
The closure of its overseas flagship stores means Watsons will no longer sell cross-border e-commerce goods on Tmall and JD.Com and imported goods sold in the official flagship store will be imported into China first and sold on the official flagship store later.
Aside from its overseas flagship stores, the cross-border e-commerce business Higoumall on Watsons' official website will also simultaneously end its operations.
Closure of overseas flagship stores and the suspension of Higoumall have led to talk of a possible shrinkage of Watson's overseas operations. "The company has no additional response on its overseas operations," Watson told Jiemian News.
Watsons' official flagship store has logged more sales growth than the closed overseas flagship stores.
The Tmall outlet registered an over 60 percent rise in sales during this year's Double 11 online shopping festival, while the official flagship store on JD.Com ranked first among self-owned brand stores on the JD platform over the same period, per Watsons data.
The company's total income increased 14 percent per year to HKD84 billion (USD11 billion) in the first half, the semi-annual report from Watson's parent shows, with that in the mainland recording 16 percent growth to HKD 12.4 billion.
Editor: Ben Armour