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Shein says it is profitable as IPO rumors swirl

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Customers hold shopping bags outside the Shein Tokyo showroom in Tokyo, Nov. 13, 2022.

Noriko Hayashi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shein notched its highest profit ever during the first half of this year, the company told investors in a letter, as rumors swirl over whether the fast-fashion juggernaut will file for a U.S. initial public offering.

The missive Wednesday from Executive Vice Chairman Donald Tang, which was obtained by CNBC, noted sales volume growth accelerated and profits improved during the first half of 2023 compared with the latter half of 2022.

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“We recorded the highest first half net profit in the company’s history, compared to a near break-even during the same period in 2022,” Tang wrote in the letter. “In particular, our continued momentum in the U.S. reinforces our leading position in the market.” 

The company, which was founded in China and is now based in Singapore, has used its wide selection of low-priced dresses, crop tops and jeans to win over Gen Z and millennial shoppers and cement itself as a leading retailer in the crowded fast-fashion space. 

The company brought in $23 billion in sales in 2022 and is now worth $66 billion, according to a May report from The Wall Street Journal, which cited people close to the company. 

Shein has long focused on churning out thousands of new styles based on the latest trends, but the company has also worked to grow its marketplace. 

The program brings in third-party vendors who sell a wide variety of goods to Shein’s customers. It allows the retailer to boost its revenue, deliver products faster and capture new shoppers without the headache of production and inventory management. 

In the letter, Tang delved into Shein’s marketplace strategy and its recent launch in Brazil and the U.S. He told investors the monthly total value of merchandise sold since the beginning of 2023 has tripled to nearly $100 million in Brazil, with 6,000 active marketplace sellers. 

“This now makes up over one-third of Brazilian total [gross merchandise value],” Tang noted. “In addition, we are continuing to expand the product categories on our marketplace beyond fashion and apparel to other categories, including home appliances and other home products.” 

Shein announced the launch of its marketplaces in Brazil and the U.S. in May. The company also has plans to start marketplaces in Mexico, along with Germany, Spain, France and Italy. 

Tang didn’t disclose how the program has fared so far in the U.S. 

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