February 26, 2013, 3:28 PM

Chinese e-retailer Vipshop triples its web sales in 2012

The apparel retailer reports sales of $692 million and a smaller net loss.

Lead Photo

Q4 sales neared $300 million for China-based Vipshop.com.

Vipshop.com, an e-commerce site operated by Vipshop Holdings Ltd., had a very good year last year, the company says, and its executives attribute its progress to its discount pricing model.

For the year ended Dec. 31, Vipshop,No. 20 in Internet Retailer’s newly published 2013 Asia 500, reported:

  • Total sales increased by 204.7%, to $692.1 million from $227.1 million in 2011.
  • Net loss was $9.5 million, compared with a net loss of US$107.3 million in the prior year period.
  • The number of active customers was 4.1 million, more than double the 1.5 million customers of the prior year.
  • Total orders of 21.9 million, an increase of about 200% from 7.3 million.
  • Fulfillment expenses increased by 112.1% to $96.5 million from $45.5 million in 2011, primarily reflecting the increase in sales volume and number of orders fulfilled, Vipshop says.

The Guangzhou, China-based web-only discount retailer of apparel and accessories attributes its strong growth mainly to the surge in active customers and total orders.

The increase in orders resulted from the addition of several regional e-commerce sites in 2011, continued efforts to optimize brand and product selection, more sales events, and a larger selection of merchandise on its main web site, the company says. Vipshop also says it expanded its regional warehouses into Shanghai, Chengdu and Beijing to meet increased demand.

“As compared to conventional online marketplaces or large-scale multi-category online retailers, we have successfully created and proven there is a third e-commerce model that can provide tremendous scale and profitability,” says Eric Shen, chairman and CEO. “By providing special offers and deep discounts on branded products, we have pioneered the online discount retail model in China.”

For the fourth quarter, Vipshop reported:

  • Total sales increased 184.8%, to $299.6 million from $105.2 million in Q4 2011.
  • Net income was $6.3 million, compared with a net loss of $63.5 million in the prior year period.
  • Total active customers increased by about 178.4%, to 2.6 million from 934,000.
  • Total orders were up by about 193.3%, to 8.8 million from 3.0 million.
  • Fulfillment expenses increased by 90.8% to $37.4 million from $19.6 million in the prior year period.

Vipshop is the fourth-largest China-based apparel and accessories merchant in the 2013 Asia 500, Vancl.com is the highest-ranked Chinese retailer in the category and No. 10 overall in the Asia 500, followed by 360Mart.com (No. 13) and Jagged Jun (No. 18).

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