Shein extends offline reach via stake in US fashion group

Skadden Shein strategic partnership offline expansion

Skadden has advised cross-border e-commerce giant Shein in a strategic partnership with an American fashion industry leader with the acquisition of a stake in SPARC Group for an undisclosed sum.

Shein will acquire around one third of the US company and SPARC will become a minority shareholder in Shein.

The Skadden team comprised M&A partners Dohyun Kim and Du Shu, tax partner Victor Hollender, and executive compensation and benefits partner Page Griffin.

Shein will help expand SPARC’s online distribution of the Forever 21 brand, launching customer-focused experiences in locations across the US, enabling a return to bricks-and-mortar stores, and creating other initiatives.

Shein is a Chinese cross-border fast-fashion online retailer focusing on the US, European and Australian markets. It says it has more than 150 million users and a valuation of USD66 million. The company has recently denied speculation that it is seeking an IPO in the US.

However, the online giant has drawn controversy with allegations of copyright breaches as well as forced labour practices and inhumane conditions for workers. US senators and 16 attorneys general sent a letter asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Shein’s business model.

SPARC is a joint venture between American brand management company Authentic Brands Group and mall operator Simon Property, and includes iconic brands such as Brooks Brothers and Reebok.