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Shein rejects Amazon ‘clone’ talk ahead of closely watched U.S. listing

Chinese-founded online retail giant Shein is gearing up for its much-anticipated U.S. public listing, set to take place later this year. As the e-commerce powerhouse prepares for its initial public offering (IPO), Shein is eager to differentiate itself from Amazon, emphasizing that it doesn’t view itself as an Amazon clone. Peter Pernot-Day, Head of Strategic Communications for the U.K. and U.S. at Shein, highlighted the company’s unique approach, stating that it doesn’t see itself as an imitation of Amazon.

Shein, headquartered in Singapore, has plans to expand its product categories gradually, with a particular focus on capturing the attention of Generation Z and younger Millennial consumers. The online fashion brand, recognized for its budget-friendly and extensive clothing lines, has already ventured into diverse product categories, including electronics, sports, and home appliances.

Pernot-Day underscored Shein’s agility in measuring and responding to customer demand, allowing the company to tailor its offerings to different markets. With estimated revenues of $24 billion in the first nine months of 2023, Shein is anticipated to outpace competitors like H&M and Zara’s parent company, Inditex. As Shein faces heightened competition in the U.S. e-commerce landscape, its upcoming IPO is expected to value the company at $90 billion, although recent reports suggest potential share sales could value the business lower, around $45 billion.

Shein’s growth strategy revolves around its customer-centric “on-demand” model, enabling the company to test small product batches with users before a full-scale launch. Seeking to distance itself from the “ultrafast fashion” label, Shein aims to reduce its environmental impact. However, the company is currently under scrutiny for allegations related to forced labor in its supply chain, labor law violations, and other concerns. Additionally, Shein’s ties to Beijing are being examined, with China’s internet regulator reviewing the company’s data handling and sharing practices.

In the midst of increasing competition and regulatory scrutiny, Shein is entering the U.S. e-commerce market, where Amazon is strategically adjusting its approach to compete in Shein’s domain of ultra-low-cost offerings.

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