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Alibaba’s plan to reinvent retail

Member exclusive by Michael Standaert for Alibaba's next step

The conventional narrative when it comes to e-commerce Goliaths is they’ll wipe brick-and-mortar retailers clean off the face of the Earth. Which is why it may seem odd that Alibaba has charged into brick-and-mortar retail.

The company is supporting a push for what it calls “new retail” by digitizing and merging traditional department stores with online platforms. This has included the $2.6 billion acquisition of the Intime department store chain, with 62 locations in 33 cities in China, and the opening of around 100 of its own, cashier-less Hema supermarkets.

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