The home-improvement chain Home Depot (NYSE:HD - News) recently admitted defeat on the streets of China, failing to replicate the success of Ikea in the nation, and closed all seven of its remaining big-box stores. But the US retailer has one more plan of attack in China: e-commerce.
A representative of 360Buy, China’s second-largest B2C e-tailer, said yesterday that it has agreed a deal with Home Depot that’ll see 360Buy’s open platform play host to a virtual store for the US firm. Rival online store Tmall was rumored to be in contention, and there’s no reason why a retailer can’t have a presence on both.
360Buy is said to be in the process of adding Home Depot items to its inventory, and they’ll appear on the site in due course.
Home Depot, which has over 2,200 stores in total, is not the only major US chain to flunk its Chinese test. Best Buy (NYSE:BBY - News) did the same in early 2011 - though it’s seeking a smaller-scale comeback in China, this time focusing on mobiles.
Of course, just because Home Depot is shifting things online, it doesn’t mean things will magically work. Chinese consumers are really not into DIY home improvements for lots of reasons, such as a lack of storage space for tools in apartments, and plenty of manual labor in the country that makes it cheaper to get someone to do stuff for you.
[Source: 21CBH - article in Chinese]