Daily Newsletter

29 November 2023

Daily Newsletter

29 November 2023

Shein ‘presses forward’ with US IPO plans, could go public in 2024

Chinese, fast-fashion giant, Shein has allegedly confirmed earlier speculations and filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, as part of its ambitious plan to extend its global footprint and address concerns over forced labour and climate impact.

Isatou Ndure November 29 2023

Shein is reportedly eyeing a potential public market debut as early as 2024 by filing a US IPO, according to sources who spoke with US publication, CNBC.

The article stated the exact valuation of the Chinese e-tailer at present remains uncertain, as discussions among the company and its advisors continue.

A confidential filing is said to be a customary step that allows companies to interact with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) privately, affording them the flexibility to make adjustments to their filings.

Over the coming months, Shein is expected to refine its paperwork and address queries from the SEC. The filing will become public when the company decides to proceed with its IPO.

CNBC said Shein has chosen Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley as lead underwriters for its IPO, but they and Shein did not respond to Just Style’s request to confirm the reports.

Earlier this year (3 May) Shein was the subject of speculation regarding a potential US initial public offering (IPO) which resulted in US lawmakers urging an investigation into Shein’s business model and insisting the fast-fashion giant has links to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) which allegedly engages in forced labour practices.

In July, Shein downplayed the rumours and a spokesperson for the fast-fashion retailer told Just Style at the time it “denied these rumours.”

Shein working to shake-off 'green-enemy' image

Allegations of forced labour in its supply chain, violations of labour laws, and climate concerns have cast shadows over its success.

Currently under investigation by the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, Shein faces additional scrutiny over its ties to Beijing.

Calls from lawmakers, including republican attorneys general, urging the SEC to ensure Shein eradicates forced labour from its supply chain before entering US markets, added to the retailer's pressure.

In July, it responded to these allegations with a spokesperson telling Just Style: “Shein has no suppliers in the Xinjiang Region. Our suppliers are based in regions including Brazil, Southern China, and Turkey. We take visibility across our entire supply chain seriously, and we are committed to respecting human rights and adhering to local laws in each market we operate in. Our suppliers must adhere to a strict code of conduct that is aligned with the International Labour Organization’s core conventions. We have zero tolerance for forced labour.”

In October, Marcelo Claure, Shein's group vice chair and former SoftBank CEO,  told CNBC that Shein was cooperating with lawmakers and taking time to meet with them to explain the business.

He said, “there’s no such thing as forced labour” in the Shein factories that he has visited.

Despite repeated acknowledgements of forced labour in its supply chain, the US publication said Shein is actively taking steps to address and rectify the issue.

In August, Shein announced it had struck a deal to acquire a third of Forever 21’s US operator SPARC Group, suggesting it is looking at boosting its presence in the US market. The agreement is a joint venture agreement with Authentic Brands Group and Simon Property Group.

Personalization has grown alongside online retail

Personalization has increased as technologies have advanced, with a retailer’s ability to collect, analyze, and utilize consumer data being aided by the effective use of analytics tools. Consumers are also increasingly individualistic, especially Gen Z, and want products that are specifically targeted to their needs and goals. These consumers are often willing to pay a premium for such items. Although the opportunities for product personalization in apparel are rife, personalized products are generally not offered by mainstream retailers due to the higher costs involved.

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