Alibaba tops singles’ day record despite sales growth slowdown

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. managed to set another Singles’ Day record even as sales growth lagged last year’s, as the nation’s economic slowdown prompted consumers to throttle back. Sales on its e-commerce platform climbed 32 per cent to $17.8 billion (over AED 65billion), easily topping last year’s total of over AED 49 billion. But that growth pace dwindled from last year’s 60 per cent, a function of the scale that Chinese’s biggest shopping day has achieved as well as an economy expanding at its slowest pace in a quarter century. Dwarfing both America’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday, the 24-hour online promotion is closely watched for clues on the health of the economy and its largest online retailer. Billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba pioneered the annual shopping spree in 2009 and has since transformed it into a social phenomenon, replicated by rivals including Inc. and now involving thousands of marquee labels across the world. The e-commerce giant turned up the star-wattage for 2016, enlisting actress Scarlett Johansson, sports celebrity David Beckham, basketball legend Kobe Bryant and pop-rock band One Republic to headline a pre-sale gala and drum up international attention. (Bloomberg News)

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