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Australia’s Chemist Warehouse to open brick-and-mortar store in China

Australia’s Chemist Warehouse is opening its first brick-and-mortar store in China, and launching on a new online marketplace, as cross-border demand for its beauty and mum-and-bubs products continues to drive strong sales growth.

“It is an [online-to-offline] self-pick-up store where customers can actually shop in the store, like a real Chemist Warehouse shopping experience,” COO Nancy Jian told Inside Retail Australia.

“This will be a pilot store, and we hope to be able to replicate this in other cities of China as well once we get everything right.”

Chemist Warehouse is a leading cross-border retailer on Alibaba’s Tmall Global site, after initially partnering with the marketplace in 2015. The new store will be in Zhengzhou city, Henan Province.

Year-on-year sales for Chemist Warehouse’s flagship store on Tmall grew at a rate of 52 per cent, with the main growth coming from its beauty and mum-and-bubs categories.

Alibaba Australia and New Zealand MD Maggie Zhou recently told Inside Retail Australia this was due a perception of Australia by the Chinese consumer as clean and natural. 

“For things to eat, to drink, to use on your skin, [Australian products] are really well thought of by the Chinese consumer,” Zhou said. 

Mena Pannia, Nancy Jian, Maggie Zhou and Scott Ni.

The pharmacy retailer also is expanding from Alibaba’s Tmall platform to Alibaba’s Kaola marketplace, a cross-border platform that focuses solely on Western brands. It will be the first brand to make the jump since Alibaba acquired Kaola earlier this year.

Chemist Warehouse will also open a store on Alibaba’s Lazada marketplace to expand into the Malaysian and Singaporean markets, as part of a renewed strategic partnership with Alibaba.

“The exciting part for us is to continue growing our cross-border business, not only in China but hopefully soon in Southeast Asia,” Jian said.

The agreement serves to provide easier market access and support for a number of smaller and medium brands.

Additional reporting by Ruth Hogan.

This story first appeared on our sister site Inside Retail Australia.

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