Alibaba to run double 11.11 online shopping events starting November 1

Alibaba Group will be hosting its 12th annual 11:11 Global Shopping Festival next month, but according to chief marketing officer Chris Tung, this year’s event will be twice as big.

“We have a very particularly special year this year,” Tung told media on Thursday.

He said Alibaba has seen a dramatic and fundamental change in customer shopping behaviour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a great amount of work done on the merchant side to accelerate their digital transformation.

While the world is still facing the challenges brought on by the pandemic, Tung said China is lucky that it has seen a fast, rapid recovery.

“Alibaba is more committed than ever to empowering our merchants for their digital transformation and to capture the growth of particularly the China market through 11.11,” he said. “This really gives 11.11 a different layer of meaning this year in light of the pandemic.”

See also: The technology enabling Alibaba to sell $30.8 billion in Double 11 goods

Tung said every year, Alibaba “plays the numbers”.

“11.11 you have four 1s in a row, you cannot be more single than that. There’s an old joke about how we get started as a singles day … and because of the love for 1 and 11, we really think that the past 11 11.11s already completes a cycle, so this year we’d like to kick it off with some different thinking, more innovation, a little bit about redefining 11.11 as the first year of the new cycle,” he said.

China is the largest consumer market and this year Alibaba is expecting more than 800 million consumers to join its 2020 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

“This presents a huge opportunity for all the merchants,” he said. “We want 11.11 to really serve as the growth engine and digitalisation driver for our brand merchants.”

This year, 14 million products from 250,000 brands from 89 countries and markets will be up for sale on Tmall. 5,000 brands will join 11.11 for the first time and 2,600 of those are brands from international markets.

“Chinese customers also face difficulty to go abroad to travel to shop and they are the largest group of [shoppers],” he said.

“We’ll charter approximately 700 flights during 11.11 to make sure we reach supply and demand, to make sure this a truly global shopping festival.”

Alibaba’s logistics arm, Cainiao, processed 1.88 billion packages last 11.11. In a bid to keep on top of this year’s sales, it has filled more than 30 warehouses with products. More than 30,000 global brands have already transported products into China using charter flights and the warehouses can have products clear customs in one second, a video shown to media stated.

In “doubling” its 2020 event, Alibaba is also opening up two shopping windows.

“For the last 11 years, the big day is November 11th — 24 hours [of] non-stop shopping,” Tung said. “But because [we’re going to] have to service 800 million consumers for 250,000 brands, 24 hours

John Lewis reveals 60% of Brits will complete their Christmas shopping by the end of November

John Lewis survey reveals 60% of Brits will complete their Christmas shopping by the end of November. (Getty Images)
John Lewis survey reveals 60% of Brits will complete their Christmas shopping by the end of November. (Getty Images)

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If you’ve been starting to shop around for Christmas presents (well, we all need a bit of joy in our lives don’t we?) then you’re probably familiar with the following phrases:

“Why are you looking so early?”

“Someone’s overly organised, aren’t they?”

And: “Why? You’ve got ages!”

But, before you sheepishly tuck your credit card away, we’ve got some news that will reassure you about your festive shopping habits.

According to a new survey from John Lewis, 60% of people will complete their Christmas shopping by the end of November.

The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of John Lewis has revealed how the UK is planning for Christmas this year – and as expected, it looks set to be a very different one to previous years.  

But, one thing remains the same: we’re a nation of forward-planners. In fact, just 2% of shoppers say they leave gift buying until the last minute.

The survey also revealed that, this year, homemade gifts and sending cards are set for a big resurgence, decorations will be up earlier and in more rooms around the home and more people will be putting up outdoor lights to spread a bit of joy or perhaps in friendly competition with the neighbours.  

Of those surveyed, 74% said they are shopping for gifts early and 39% are already stocking up on food gifts like chocolates and panettone.

John Lewis Christmas shop sales are up 63% on last year, with its virtual Christmas shop one of the most viewed pages on johnlewis.com.

Here’s what Brits are buying

Advent calendars

While advent calendars are a staple each Christmas, searches for the countdowns on the John Lewis website are up 48% this year.

The British department store has also expanded its offering this year, launching a highly-anticipated beauty advent calendar, as well as its first ever jewellery advent calendar. 

Buy it: Beauty Advent Calendar 2020 | £150 from John Lewis & Partners

Buy it: Jewellery Advent Calendar | £199 from John Lewis & Partners

DIY gifts and kits

Got into arts and crafts during lockdown? Almost a third of people said they would make their own presents this year, with John Lewis seeing haberdashery sales up 30% and craft kits up 85%.

And, continuing the baking theme that has dominated 2020 thus far, Christmas baking kit sales are up 65% with customers already looking for festive activities to do.

Buy it: The Make Arcade Mini Rainbow Cross Stitch Kit | £8.50 

Buy it: StompStamps Personalised Biscuit Kit | £19.95

(John Lewis)(John Lewis)
(John Lewis)

Christmas treats 

Nearly two in five (39%) people are already stocking up on food gifts like chocolates and panettone – and some of us,

Like Outdoor Dining? Try Outdoor Shopping

[New York City could fall behind in rebuilding its economy.]

The city’s economy is hurting. More than one million residents are out of work. The city’s official unemployment rate in September was 14.1 percent, compared with a national rate that dropped to 7.9 percent, from 8.4 percent in August.

The pain hit particularly hard for small businesses, which are key to the city’s economy and to neighborhoods’ vibrancy.

Small businesses provide jobs to more than three million people, about half of the work force, according to the city. An influential business group, the Partnership for New York City, estimated that when the pandemic eventually subsides, roughly one-third of the city’s 240,000 small businesses may never reopen.

Businesses are urging public officials to cut regulations and find other ways to spur a recovery. In September, the New York City Business Improvement District Association released a statement calling on Mr. de Blasio to “allow retail businesses to use public space in creative ways similar to the successful Open Restaurant initiative.”

Under the new program, which begins Friday, ground-floor businesses with storefronts that want to use the nearby space on the sidewalk can apply online. It’s an obvious fit for retail shops, but the city said that repair stores, personal care services and dry cleaning and laundry services can use the outdoor space for seating, the “display of dry goods” or as a place customers can line up.

There are a number of rules to follow.

Unlike the outdoor dining program, retail businesses cannot use any part of the street, unless the street had already been closed to cars. The business must keep an eight-foot-wide path on the sidewalk clear for pedestrians.

Businesses can use tents and umbrellas to keep shoppers dry, except when there are high winds.

Anything the business puts outside as part of the program must be taken in by the end of the day.

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Are Patriots shopping star CB? Reports are all over the place

Might Stephon Gilmore be on the move ahead of next Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline?

It depends on who you ask.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported the Patriots shopped Gilmore twice this offseason, and got the ball rolling again on NBC Sports Boston’s pregame show again last weekend.

“They absolutely did have conversations with other teams about dealing Stephon Gilmore,” Breer said. “If you’re not going to compete for a championship, which I think is always going to be the bar here as long as Bill Belichick is here, see what you can get for someone like Stephon Gilmore. Because I think chances are he’s not going to be on the team in 2021. They had to move some money 2021 to ’20 to make him happy this year. He’ll want another raise next year, so I think when they did make that move to move the money up, it was an acknowledgment that he might not be around next year.

“They have talked about the idea of trading Stephon Gilmore. They were in contact with other teams in March and April, and again in August. The question then becomes what you’re willing to take for him, because I don’t think it’s going to be a first-round pick. … But if you’re willing to move him for a second or a third, I think there could be a market out there for him.”

But appearing on WEEI Wednesday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that was old news.

“I’ve heard the rumors with Stephon Gilmore, probably like a lot of people, but I haven’t heard the recently,” Rapoport said. “I know teams called the Patriots in March. I know there was some discussion when Gilmore wanted a new contract, that was before the season. I just haven’t heard of anything recent. So it’s possible these rumors are kind of old. Now, the Patriots’ record is what it is. Gilmore is still one of the best players in football. He’s due a huge new contract after the season. So if you are the Patriots and you decide, all right this is probably more of a rebuilding year than we wanted it would made sense to trade him if he was not part of your future. I also know the Patriots rarely give third contracts. So that would also make sense. I just haven’t gotten anything that anything is imminent on Stephon Gilmore.”

Gilmore is under contract through 2021 with a cap hit of $17.2 million next season.

The plot thickened when WEEI’s Greg Hill reported that Gilmore’s house had been placed on the market.

However, the cornerback’s wife Gabrielle, who is quite active on social media, tweeted three laughing emojis without any context in the same hour, perhaps indicating they weren’t planning on moving.

Asked about the Gilmore rumors in his Wednesday morning presser, Bill Belichick didn’t give much.

Q: So there’s this report out there that the Patriots are essentially talking to other teams about trading Stephon Gilmore and I just

Ultra Clean Holdings: Why This Chip Stock Is Not On Our Shopping List (NASDAQ:UCTT)

Thesis Summary

Ultra Clean Holdings, Inc. (UCTT) is a chipmaker with a track record of solid growth. Investors have a positive outlook on the future given the growth of the “Memory” market. However, the company is reliant on a few clients and has subpar profitability. Furthermore, there are risks associated with the foreign side of the business due to regulation. Despite a decent 8% return, we don’t feel the reward outweighs the risk and we remain “Neutral”.

Company Overview

Ultra Clean Holdings produces parts for the semiconductor industry. For those that know the market, the company could be defined as a “foundry” or OEM. These companies operate in contrast to “fabless” chip companies that design semiconductors but don’t produce them in-house. UCTT produces wafers, delivery systems and also provides services to other companies. Below, we can see a breakdown of the distribution of revenues to get a better idea:

(Source: Investor Presentation)

The two main segments, in terms of products, can be broken down into “Memory” and “Logic”. (WFE stands for Wafer Fab Equipment.) UCTT operates in the U.S. and also has a significant presence in South East Asia and China. In fact, revenues have historically been split evenly between domestic and international, although the latter represented 57% in the last quarter. Lastly, let’s look at revenue growth and operating margin:

(Source: Investor Presentation)

The company saw strong revenue during the 2015-2018 period, but that shrank in 2019. Operating margin has been in line with industry standards, around 6-9%. These companies are capital-intensive and operate on thin margins. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the balance sheet is remarkably strong, with almost 2x assets over liabilities and a D/E of 0.76

The “issues” with Ultra Clean Holdings

Looking at Ultra Clean Holdings’ operations, there are certainly a few identifiable red flags. Firstly, it is a concerning issue that over ⅔ of revenues come from two customers alone.

(Source: Investor Presentation)

As we can see most of the company’s revenues come from two sources: Lam Research Corporation (LRCX) and Applied Materials (AMAT). This raises concerns over two things, Firstly, revenue growth will be reliant on continued business from these two customers. Secondly, and most importantly, this raises some issues over UCTT’s market power in terms of pricing. UCTT already operates on thin margins, and it is hard to see how the company can raise its profitability in a competitive environment and with such little pricing power.

Another significant cause for concern is the regulatory environment. In recent news, the U.S. government imposed restrictions on China’s largest chip manufacturing company: Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (OTCQX:SMICY). This is bad news for companies like UCTT, which, as seen in the changing distribution of revenue, relies on income from overseas, including China. Certainly, this stock, and the semiconductor industry as a whole, could see significant moves once the result of the election is clear.

Lastly, even if you are looking into investing in this sector of the chip market, Ultra Clean Holdings does not seem like

India’s gold demand could recover during fourth quarter on festival shopping

By Rajendra Jadhav

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s gold demand in the fourth quarter is expected to recover after falling 30% in the previous quarter as festivals are expected to strengthen retail jewellery purchases, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday.

“We expect quarter four would be better than quarter three due to pent-up demand and festivals,” said Somasundaram PR, the managing director of WGC’s Indian operations.

Demand for the precious metal usually spikes towards the end of the year in India, as buying gold for weddings and major festivals such as Diwali and Dussehra is considered auspicious.

Indians celebrated Dussehra earlier this month and jewellers reported improvement in footfalls and sales, said Somasundaram.

But demand during fourth quarter would still be lower than the 194.3 tonnes recorded last year as consumers are struggling to adjust to near record high prices, he said.

India’s gold demand in the first three quarters fell 49% from a year earlier to 252.4 tonnes as coronavirus-triggered lockdowns hit jewellery demand, the WGC said in a report published on Thursday.

In the third quarter, gold demand fell 30% from a year earlier to 86.6 tonnes as jewellery demand plunged 48% to 52.8 tonnes in the same period, the WGC said.

While overall gold consumption fell, demand for coins and bars, known as investment demand, jumped 51% in the third quarter as rising prices attracted investors, the WGC said.

“The slowdown in real estate and rising gold prices may have prompted unaccounted cash holders to move into gold,” it said.

Scrap gold supplies jumped to 41.5 tonnes in the third quarter, the highest in seven years, as record prices and stress on household finances prompted consumers to liquidate their old trinkets and jewellery, according to the WGC.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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Retail in NYC gets option of outdoor shopping

Retail stores will be allowed to peddle their wares outdoors, in a program announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio Wednesday to help small businesses weather the coronavirus crisis.



a large orange chair: Unlike the outdoor dining, retail stores cannot take over parking spaces.


© AP Photo/John Minchillo
Unlike the outdoor dining, retail stores cannot take over parking spaces.

Impact: The new Open Storefronts program — modeled on the city’s popular outdoor dining initiative — will allow 40,000 businesses to set up open air operations, in hopes of drawing in shoppers who wary of browsing indoors and creating more space for merchandise while complying with social distancing requirements.

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“We’ve seen so many small businesses struggling to survive,” de Blasio said at a press briefing. “It’s hard to do if you have a small space, and the restrictions in place. Let’s liberate the outdoor space for them as well, and help these small businesses to continue.”

Businesses can use five feet of space on the sidewalk in front of their stores, and must leave eight feet clear for pedestrians to pass.

Shops on the same street can also join together and ask the city to close their block to traffic so they can set up in the street. Stores on existing open streets used by restaurants can use that space.

But unlike the outdoor dining, retail stores cannot take over parking spaces.

What’s next: De Blasio signed an executive order Wednesday to create the program, which will start Friday and go at least through Dec. 31. Shops can use outdoor space after filling out an online application.

The city is hoping the outdoor stores will boost business during the holiday season, which many shops rely on for 70 percent of their sales.

“The holidays are coming — a great opportunity to patronize your local businesses. Look everyone, we all appreciate there’s wonderful stuff available online, but let’s really double down on our local businesses here in this city. Let’s give them the business they need to survive,” de Blasio said. “This is going to be the toughest year for small businesses. This holiday season is something they really need.”

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Adobe Predicts Online Shopping Surge This Holiday Season

With new coronavirus cases in the U.S. soaring in October, consumers are expected to do more online shopping this holiday season … a lot more. Software company Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) is calling for a 33% year-over-year uptick in the country’s e-commerce spending in November and December, thanks to shoppers’ wariness of setting foot in an actual brick-and-mortar store, CNBC reported today. That would take the season’s online shopping tally to a figure near $189 billion.

That growth outlook is the more conservative one tendered by Adobe Analytics, too. Should the recent resurgence of COVID-19 lead to renewed shutdowns, it said, the nation’s e-commerce industry could see growth on the order of 47% in the coming two months.

Computer keyboard with an online shopping cart key.

Image source: Getty Images.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) will garner a massive share of whatever online spending materializes. During its quarter ending in December of last year, the e-commerce giant raked in $53.7 billion worth of product sales in the United States alone. The company has seen strong double-digit sales growth this year, with shoppers turning to the web to steer clear of physical stores.

But rivals are more ready to compete online this year than they’ve ever been, after being forced to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic. Analytics site Digital Commerce 360 recently reported that 44% of the nation’s biggest 500 brick-and-mortar retailers now offer curbside pickup, up from only 7% before the pandemic. This added option will help fuel the big e-commerce growth Adobe is modeling.

These physical stores enjoy another edge on their online-centered rivals: Despite the projected growth of online sales this holiday season, roughly three-fourths of this year’s shopping should still be done in-store, according to Adobe.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Westfield Celebrates the Most Wonderful Time of Year at Its Shopping Centers in the U.S.

The tradition of celebrating the holidays at Westfield continues with one-of-a-kind experiences that keep safety, services, community and fun top of mind

Visits with Santa, virtual scavenger hunts and more are planned this holiday season at Westfield malls across the U.S., Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) announced today. The company’s shopping centers will welcome guests eager to safely experience their favorite traditions with family and friends by offering festive experiences, exclusive shopping events, and a variety of services designed to complement consumers’ online shopping.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201028006171/en/

A rendering of The Holiday Market at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Although the holidays may look a bit different this year, we want to make them feel the same as always by providing amenities that not only make it safe to shop, but fun and festive too,” says Ghadi Hobeika, executive vice president, Media Sales, Marketing and Digital at URW. “We have been very thoughtful about creating experiences that support our retailers, local communities, and charitable partners while helping our customers overcome the stress of the past year, rediscover their favorite holiday traditions, and revel in the magic of this most special time.”

To ensure its guests have a place to celebrate the season together with friends and family, Westfield is delivering one-of-a-kind experiences focused on safety, services, community and fun through a variety of programs and initiatives across its centers.

SAFETY

Westfield is committed to the health and safety of our customers, employees and the community, and is working with local stakeholders, public health officials and retailers to ensure that relevant guidelines are being followed this holiday season. In addition to increased cleanings of common areas and monitoring and enforcing capacity; social distancing; and the wearing of face coverings, Bureau Veritas, the world’s most respected provider in testing, inspection and certification processes, certified Westfield cleaning processes with its industry-leading hygiene and safety excellence label, SafeGuard™. More information on shopping center health and safety practices can be found on each center’s website.

SERVICES

Westfield will continue to go the extra mile this holiday season by providing services and amenities designed to ensure that customers have a safe and seamless experience. Select Westfield centers will offer Curbside Pickup; Line Pass, a Westfield app-based virtual queuing and appointment service to help make visits to the center more efficient; Ask An Elf (also known as Answers on the Spot); complimentary shopping bags; as well as Guest Service Ambassadors.

COMMUNITY

Westfield kicked off the holiday season with the launch of Shop Your Heart Out, a 10-day program that drives donations to local charities by offering guests access to exclusive offers from multiple retailers throughout its centers—from discounted sales, to gifts with purchase, and more. The initiative continues Westfield’s commitment to the communities it serves through a program that was launched in March under the hashtag #WestfieldCares. Visit www.westfield.com/westfieldcares for more information.

FUN

While health and safety remain top of

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Been Tough on Shopping Malls. History Suggests We Should Be Wary of What Might Replace Them

Aerial View of Parked Cars
Aerial View of Parked Cars

Hundreds of automobiles viewed from aloft at Detroit’s Northland Center, in 1954. Credit – Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

You will not be surprised to hear that 2020 has been a bad year for shopping malls. It is projected that 25,000 stores could close this year as a result of the pandemic. By the end of next year, it is likely that more than half of the department stores that anchor trade in malls in the U.S. will be gone. During a time when purchasing shoes in person risks inflicting an unwitting form of violence against yourself and others, the evacuation of capital from commercial buildings is underway.

It is tempting to mourn the death of malls with nostalgia. For those of us who grew up in the suburbs, malls were we where we came of age, where we first met Santa, went on dates, encountered wage labor and committed petty crimes. The website DeadMalls.com lovingly documents the ruins of former malls, with many visitors posting memories and photographs of places they had once shopped or worked. This nostalgia is particularly acute at a time when the sight of crowds of happy maskless strangers roaming through poorly ventilated concourses feels like it belongs to a lost golden age. The strange and troubled history of the U.S. shopping mall, however, is a reminder that even those who celebrate their passing should also be wary about what might replace them.

If anyone can be credited with inventing the shopping mall it is Victor Gruen, a Viennese socialist architect who fled Nazi-controlled Austria in 1938. Gruen settled in Los Angeles and quickly began to think of ways that his passion for top-down planning and beautiful public spaces could be grafted onto the expanding suburban landscape of southern California. In 1943, Gruen and his wife, Elsie Krummeck, co-authored an essay for the Architectural Forum in which they proposed a new type of space: A fully enclosed, landscaped and pedestrianized mall that would house stores, art-installations, concert halls and spaces for community gatherings. This new urban form, they hoped, would rein in the chaos and sprawl of suburbia, filling people’s lives with art and music, and giving order to an expanding free market of consumer goods. By the mid-1950s, Gruen’s vision had been realized in the Northland Center in suburban Detroit and the Southdale Center in Edina, Minn.—developments that propelled Gruen to nationwide fame and established the shopping mall as a familiar type of urban space to be replicated by developers.

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Within a few years, shopping malls, along with federally funded freeways, manicured office parks and affordable tract housing, became part of the infrastructure of American suburbia. As civil rights victories legally desegregated the commercial spaces of downtowns, shopping malls in mostly white neighborhoods quietly oversaw the de facto re-segregation of retail space. At the same time, malls helped codify the patriarchal geography of US