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29.53-1.51 (-4.88%)
At close: 4:45PM GMT
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Previous close31.05
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Day's range29.32 - 30.97
52-week range20.15 - 39.28
Avg. volume175,288
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  • Accor Sets Ambitious Line-Up for New Hotel Openings in 2021
    PR Newswire

    Accor Sets Ambitious Line-Up for New Hotel Openings in 2021

    Accor is kicking off the year with an encouraging development outlook and a full schedule of new hotel openings around the world. While 2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges – not the least of which were felt among the travel and hospitality sectors – Accor maintained a steady pace of development and continued to sign new projects, leading to a robust roster of new hotel openings throughout 2021.

  • Are You Ready For the Roaring 2020s?

    Are You Ready For the Roaring 2020s?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- First, we stocked up on sweatpants, then we made home improvements. Next will we be booking vacations and buying beach bags? It’s not the most outrageous idea. Since the arrival of a Covid vaccine, there has been a “great rotation” in the stock market: Investors have been pulling out of safe-haven stocks, such as consumer staples, and moving into those that could benefit from a recovery, such as banks and airlines.Shift the focus to shoppers, and we may see a great rotation in what people buy, too. Spending could move away from lockdown-inspired home improvements and back to travel and dining. Even with the pandemic raging and restrictions getting tighter over the holidays, tour operators, luxury groups and fashion retailers should be prepared for some future shifts.Consumer behavior has already changed a great deal this year. Those fortunate enough to keep their jobs and work from home saw their savings swell. When they decided to spend, it wasn’t on dressy clothes, shoes or holidays. Instead, they splurged on cashmere loungewear, indulgent food and, of course, their residences. But as lockdowns and other restrictions get lifted, some of that spending will rotate back to “experiences.” TUI AG, the biggest package tour operator, has already sold half of its vacations available for May 2021. French hotel group Accor SA recently struck a deal to expand its position in the boutique hotel market, hoping to get a boost from its younger and more leisure-focused customers. These companies are banking on people finally booking long-postponed holidays and dining in chi-chi restaurants.For luxury goods brands, a renewed appetite for experiences over things will bring mixed results. They have benefited from Chinese, American and European consumers treating themselves to top-end goods such as Rolex watches and Christian Dior bags with some of their accumulated savings. This demand will probably fade as a broader array of spending options becomes available.But any decline in domestic consumption should be offset by a gradual increase in tourist spending, as people from China, the U.S. and the Middle East begin traveling again. This will be particularly important for European luxury groups, including LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Gucci-owner Kering SA. On average, some 50% of luxury sales in Europe come from overseas tourists, according to Flavio Cereda, an analyst at Jefferies.The big unknown on consumer behavior is how an economic recovery will affect the clothing industry. Global spending on apparel this year is set to shrink by 16.7% from 2019, according to GlobalData. In the U.S. it’s projected to be 25.7% lower. But there’s reason to believe demand will tick up in 2021. A vaccine brings hope that we’ll eventually return to workplaces, at least for a few days a week. After almost a year of not dressing for the office, people are bound to refresh their wardrobes. While men probably won’t buy as many suits (bad news for Hugo Boss AG) and women may prioritize comfort over chic, this doesn’t mean we’ll all keep working in sweatpants. Winser London, an online retailer that specializes in upmarket workwear, has seen demand for its silk blouses remain strong during the pandemic (one still wants to look good on Zoom) and even intensify recently. Demand for its dresses and blazers also briefly recovered in the autumn when people started to return to offices. It makes sense if you think about the new world of work, where routine tasks will be done at home, while days in town will be for meetings and presentations — events that require more polished outfits.Meanwhile, Anita Balchandani, who leads McKinsey & Co.’s apparel and luxury work in Europe, says there’s a “huge pent up demand for glamor.” According to Lyst, the fashion platform, searches for heels and gowns held up even when people had nowhere to go. And trend forecaster WGSN sees a return to colors and prints amid increasing optimism about a post-pandemic future. Yet fashion often reacts against prevailing conditions. Faith Popcorn, whose job is to imagine the future for big consumer groups, says this could manifest in what she calls the “Roaring 2020s” — decorative clothing, high heels and lots of make up could be a backlash against the drab leisurewear that characterized much of the year. This turn would be a relief for high-end sellers, such as Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, as well as fast fashion chains like Hennes & Mauritz AB and Inditex’s Zara.Whichever version of the future emerges — be it comfort chic or more splashy getups — a shift in wardrobes will be one more great rotation to pay attention to.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Alibaba Singles’ Day Ends Strongly as Beijing Crackdown Looms

    Alibaba Singles’ Day Ends Strongly as Beijing Crackdown Looms

    (Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. posted sales of $75 billion during the world’s largest shopping binge, wrapping up an annual frenzy of Chinese consumption that this year was overshadowed by escalating regulatory scrutiny over the country’s giant internet sector.Sales during the Singles’ Day festival totaled 498.2 billion yuan at the end of Nov. 11, easily surpassing 2019’s $38 billion official tally after Alibaba added several days and additional services to the count for the first time. Unlike past years, Alibaba didn’t provide detailed breakdowns about what got sold apart from tidbits like the fact its Tmall platform logged 583,000 orders in one second at its peak.Investors watched Alibaba’s bargains bonanza for signs that Chinese consumers were raring to fire up the country’s post-pandemic recovery. But the headline numbers took a backseat to concerns that regulators are seeking to curtail the growing influence of Alibaba and other Chinese internet leaders. Shares of Alibaba, the largest of the country’s tech firms, plunged 9.8% in Hong Kong Wednesday, taking losses to more than $115 billion since Beijing this week unveiled new antitrust regulations governing the sector’s dominant players.Singles’ Day debuted in 2009 and has grown over a decade into a nationwide marathon of frantic bargain-hunting that dwarfs sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday in both intensity and size. 2020’s edition features a record number of brand names from Apple to Nike betting that -- after months of Covid-enforced abstention -- China’s 400 million-strong middle class is ready to spend on everything from Hainan beach-side vacations to takeaway coupons and electronics.Alibaba has been benefiting after the pandemic forced Chinese consumers -- who already buy about 30% of the nation’s retail purchases online -- to accelerate their shift to e-commerce. Homebound consumers turned grocery delivery into the industry’s hottest arena, anchoring an unprecedented surge in online activity during the nationwide lockdown. Domestic travel is accelerating, propping up Alibaba businesses such as Fliggy, while a raft of new smartphones launched during the quarter is expected to tap pent-up demand for electronics.“We are seeing Chinese customers releasing the strong consumption demand during the event,” Liu Bo, general manager of Tmall marketing and operations. Core consumers, the country’s middle class, have demonstrated a solid appetite for shopping as a way to compensate for not being able to travel overseas, he added.The strong start to this year’s sales fiesta -- also known as “Double 11” -- may bode well for China’s economy, providing further evidence that consumer spending, so far a laggard in the recovery, is strengthening.“Double 11 has historically served as a very accurate indicator for what’s happening in the following year for retailers, brands as well as consumers,” said Jonathan Cheng, head of China retail at Bain & Co. “For this year, with Covid, it’ll become more important. And if you look at China, which is the first one to be coming out of Covid, it’s gonna be an indicator for other countries as well.”The brainchild of co-founder Jack Ma and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang, Single’s Day was intended to be an antidote to the sentimentality of Valentine’s Day. It takes its name from the way the day is written numerically as 11/11, which resembles “bare branches,” a local expression for the unattached. Along the way, the company created the world’s largest shopping festival that has helped to propel Alibaba into a Goliath.It’s also become an annual showcase for Alibaba’s cloud services as well as affiliate Ant Group Co.’s Alipay mobile wallet. A record event would be another feather in the cap for Ant, which could do with a win after tightening regulatory scrutiny that torpedoed its initial public offering last week.Livestream GalaIn a nod to the pandemic, Alibaba scaled back on live events this year and is instead relying on increased online promotions such as celebrity livestreams to draw hundreds of millions of shoppers to its e-commerce platforms. Pop star Katy Perry performed at an online event Tuesday, four years after she pulled out from Alibaba’s annual live extravaganza to mark the shopping festival. Alongside the usual 24-hour sales period on Wednesday, 2020’s event featured an additional window for consumers to make purchases from Nov. 1-3.Shoppers can purchase heavily discounted goods like cosmetics, clothing and groceries from its Taobao and Tmall platforms and have them shipped via the company’s Cainiao logistics service, and book flights to domestic tourist hotspots on the Fliggy travel website. Kaola -- purchased from NetEase Inc. last year -- is participating for the first time, offering goods from 89 countries to consumers.Foreign consumer brands have long relied on Alibaba to gain access to the Chinese middle class. That’s especially true this year, given how most economies elsewhere are grappling with a resurgence in the pandemic. During the first 111 minutes of sales on Nov. 1, Nike Inc. and Apple Inc. were among 100 brands that reported 100 million yuan ($15 million) in transactions. And Estee Lauder’s flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall platform was the first to surpass 1 billion yuan in sales, the e-commerce company said. International hotel groups Marriott International Inc. and Accor SA also passed the 1 billion yuan transaction mark for the first time.Read more: Magic Johnson Selling Gels Shows Why Alibaba Escaped TrumpSales DiscountsExpectations are high for Alibaba. Revenue in the September quarter grew at the slowest on record for the period, with customers putting off purchases on its Taobao and Tmall platforms in anticipation of deep bargains ahead. “The performance of Singles Day might be a more important benchmark to look at, rather than the third quarter result,” said Steven Zhu, an analyst with Pacific Epoch.As with previous years, Alibaba and its e-commerce rivals rolled out ever-larger promotions to entice consumers. Over the entire Single’s Day event, merchants could end up forking over a record 30 billion yuan in discounts and subsidies to goose sales across Tmall and Taobao alone, CLSA Ltd. analysts led by Elinor Leung estimated.Those discounts may be the key to enticing consumers, which have only just started to loosen their purse-strings, to keep spending. China’s retail sales climbed 3.3% in September from a year ago and growth may have accelerated to 5% in October, as travel and other consumption picked up during the golden week holiday at the start of the month.But overall retail sales are still down for the year -- shrinking about 7% in the first nine months from the same period in 2019 -- and it remains to be seen if strong spending during national holidays and one-off shopping events like Singles’ Day will translate into a sustained recovery. Private consumption accounted for no more than 0.5 percentage point of GDP growth in the third quarter and a full recovery in consumer confidence may only come in 2021, according to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group economist Xing Zhaopeng.“Singles’ Day should see spending higher than a year ago but keep in mind retail sales were growing at 8% before Covid-19,” said Shaun Roache, Asia-Pacific chief economist at S&P Global Ratings. “If Singles’ Day is much better than expected, we should watch sales activity closely in December to see if this is a genuine pick-up or consumers are simply stocking up and staying cautious.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.