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Semafor LogoDiego Mendoza
newsSouth America

Shein's pop-up store in Brazil caused fistfights

Diego Mendoza is a Breaking News reporter. You can reach him at dmendoza@semafor.com. Sign up for Flagship, our daily newsletter that distills what’s happening in the world into a concise, insightful morning read.

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Title iconThe Videos

Shein's five-day pop-up store in Sao Paulo last week, saw thousands line up outside, with viral videos showing customers getting into fights while waiting.

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China e-commerce giant Shein -- the world's largest fashion retailer -- opened its store at one of Sao Paulo's biggest malls on Nov. 12. Tens of thousands of shoppers visited the pop-up, according to the China Global South Project. People were still waiting in lines more than a kilometer long on the last day.

Local media outlets reported scenes of chaos and disorderly conduct outside the storefront, as increasingly impatient customers tried to get to the front. Store managers were forced to issue a capacity limit of 40 people at a time, with customers having only 20 minutes to shop, according to Brazilian news site G1.

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Clothing prices are up 19% in Brazil, according to the China Global South Project, making retailers with low prices like Shein more appealing to a growing middle class plagued with worldwide inflation. G1 reported that the most expensive item of clothing at the Shein pop-up store cost 167 real ($31).

Shein is particularly popular among young adults, with global TikTok influencers frequently uploading "Shein haul" videos. The company faces accusations of using forced labor in Xinjiang.

Title iconNotable

Semafor's Louise Matsakis explains how Chinese e-commerce companies like Shein have filled in the gaps for customer demand of cheap goods after Amazon banned many Chinese sellers on their platform.

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