China’s biggest online drinks retailer 1919 Wine and Spirits, partly owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba, has bounced back from a pandemic-hit year to report a strong half-year performance over 2020 and Covid-free 2019.
According to its latest financial report, 1919’s half year revenue grew by 50.43% over the same period last year to RMB 2.581 billion (US$399.2 million), thanks to post-pandemic’s recovering market demand. If stripping off the impacts of the pandemic, this also represents a 5.5% growth over 2019.
Its net profit clocked at RMB 653.4 million (US$101 million), making a turnaround from a losing year.
The company during the pandemic had to scale back its nation-wide operation. In Shanghai, it’s reported to have closed 20 stores last year, but the company dismissed the closures as “a normal store adjustment”.
The Chengdu-based online retailer operates both online and offline stores, targeting both trade and end consumers. Its app also offers on-demand sommelier service and 19-minute delivery guarantee for some major cities.
Its growth attracted attention from the country’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. In 2018, the company received RMB 2 billion (US$290 million) investment from Alibaba, as the e-commerce giant eyes to use 1919 to compete with its arch-rival JD.com.
JD.com is always believed to have an edge over Alibaba in terms of wine and spirits sales, despite lacking overall in overall consumer sales revenue and market share.
Created in 2010, 1919 has about 1900 stores in over 500 cities across China. It prides its 19-minute delivery promises upon orders in some big cities.