US department store retailer Macy's has said it "continues to watch" the Chinese market after reports emerged that it had halted its online expansion plans in the country. 

The apparent change of heart comes after the company invested US$15m in Chinese online retailer VIPStore Co, in a move that was aimed at helping Macy's start selling some of its private branded products in China this year.

The first assortment - due to be available in the spring - was I.N.C. women's and men's fashions, with other Macy's private brands planned to roll out in the following seasons.

However, when contacted by just-style today (8 October), a spokesperson for Macy's said: "Nothing much has changed. We continue to be interested in international expansion at some point, and believe there is potential long-term opportunity."

The spokesperson noted that the retailer continues to hold its equity interest in VIPStore and expects "to continue to do so".

He added: "We continue to watch the marketplace in China and other countries and to learn about the preferences of customers in other cultures. We have no current plans for additional expansion."

Macy's started selling its products online in China in 2011, through a collaboration with international e-commerce provider FiftyOne, which has now changed its name to Borderfree. The retailer sells its clothing to more than 100 countries via its e-commerce website.

Earlier this year, upscale department store operator Neiman Marcus revealed plans to scale back its operations in China, closing a warehouse set up to serve its online business in the country.