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INDIAN (T)

Jabong's revenue slows in FY17 to Rs 757 crore

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Jabong's revenue slows in FY17 to Rs 757 croreFlipkart group’s fashion e-commerce site Jabong‘s revenue slowed down in the last fiscal year by about 15% to Rs 757 crore.

The e-tailer additionally generated Rs 100 crore in revenue for providing marketplace services, latest documents of two Jabong companies filed with the Registrar of Companies said.

After acquiring Jabong for $70 million in a distress sale in 2016 from Rocket Internet, Flipkart group has been attempting a turnaround of the Gurgaon-based online fashion retailer.

Jade Eservices is one of the largest sellers on Jabong which reported revenues of Rs 757 crore in financial year 2017 compared to Rs 873 crore in financial year 2015. The company’s annual returns were not available with Registrar of Companies (RoC). Novarris Fashion is the wholly owned subsidiary of Jade Eservices which runs Jabong and makes the revenue by offering its marketplaces services, as per documents sourced from business research platform Tofler.

A Myntra spokesperson didn’t answer an email sent by TOI asking for slower revenue growth for Jabong.

Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan, who is also the CEO for Jabong got on board Myntra’s CMO Gunjan Soni to head the struggling fashion portal last year. Narayanan has said the company is expecting higher growth in the current financial year to the tune of over 30%. Myntra and Jabong together command leadership position in online fashion category along with parent Flipkart’s lifestyle business.



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ASIAN (E)

Resorts World Catskills casino looking 'to wow' Asian market

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THOMPSON – The owners of the Resorts World Catskills casino hope to generate an aura of good luck when they open the doors next week.

The casino’s address is 888 Resorts World Drive, a number in Mandarin that signifies triple good fortune for patrons and is often seen on Chinese-owned businesses. But it also could mean good fortune for the casino’s owners, whose ability to attract Asian gamblers who believe in luck is a key to its prosperity.

The Feb. 8 opening comes eight days before the Chinese New Year.

Casinos covet domestic and foreign Asian patrons, a rapidly growing population regarded as having a zest for gambling.

“It’s a significant part of the market we want to capture,” said Charlie Degliomini, executive vice president of Empire Resorts, which owns the casino backed by Lim Kok Thay, a Malaysian Chinese billionaire.

Casino departments tasked with reaching out to potential Asian patrons are common. Resorts World Catskills’ push will be staffed by 20 or more senior marketers, Degliomini said.

Resorts World Catskills announced this week that it has hired Calvin Quach as vice president, international marketing, and Angela Wu as executive director, part of the casino’s commitment “to spotlight Asian culture and international markets as part of its core business model.”

The casino is targeting both Asian high rollers and the general gambling market.

Population has surged

The Asian American population has surged to 20.4 million from 11.9 million in the past 15 years. They now represent the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the country, the Pew Research Center reports.

New York City, only 90 miles from Resorts World Catskills, had a Chinese population of 562,204 in 2016, the largest in any city outside of China. The Catskills casino is working on an agreement with bus companies like the ones that make numerous daily trips from Asian communities in the city to casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, according to the Commerce Department, Chinese visitors to the U.S. for business or pleasure grew to almost 2.5 million in 2016 from only 525,000 just seven years before. Their spending rose to $33 billion from $6.9 billion. Twelve percent gambled during their stays.

“We’re expecting to wow the Asian gaming market,” Degliomini vowed.

Consultant hired

Degliomini said that the casino hired a Feng Shui consultant to help it harmonize gamblers with the casino environment.

The entryway is curved rather than a straight path to prevent luck from “flowing out of the door.” Also, the casino is salted with orange-accented tiles in the building whose discovery brings good luck. Directional signs are in English and Chinese.

Inside, the casino offers 56 table games popular with Asian gamblers – Macao-style baccarat, mini-baccarat, pai gow, pai gow poker and sic bo – in a separate section that takes up 30 percent of the 100,000 square-foot gambling floor. All told, the casino has about 150 table games.

Jack Kennedy, executive director of the casino’s table games, anticipates that most of its Asian gamblers will be Chinese, who enjoy baccarat, a big moneymaker for casinos, and pai gow tiles. Vietnamese and Korean guests will be attracted to pai gow poker, blackjack and some baccarat, he said. Asian gamblers are regarded as less enthused about slot machines.

Deciding the mix of games to offer is “a mix of art and science,” Kennedy said. “You lean on past experiences in all the jurisdictions you worked in, demographic models and proximity to large population centers.”

“Once comfortable, Asian gamblers frequent the casino more often,” he added. “It would be like having a favorite restaurant.”

Degliomini said that gambling for Asians is a “communal” experience. Kennedy added that “they like to test their luck,” but “high-rollers don’t just gamble.” A trip to a high-end casino “is a vacation for the whole family.”

Expert in Asian gambling

Kennedy is an expert in Asian gambling who was hired away from the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa. Degliomini said that many of Kennedy’s personnel followed him to the Catskills.

Many of the local dealers speak a second language, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Fuzhounese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish and Italian. More than 100 of the 625 dealers speak an Asian language, a must for keeping gamblers comfortable and creating a “seamless” experience, said Kennedy.

Kennedy said that casino personnel must be sensitive to cultural differences. For one thing, many Chinese are superstitious and regard being hit or tapped on the shoulder as bad luck.

If “8” is good luck, “4” is very bad because its Mandarin translation sounds like the word for death. The casino won’t use the number for its table games if it can be removed without causing confusion, Kennedy said.

In addition to their favorite games, Asian gamblers will be enticed with amenities that include two restaurants that serve what Degliomini described as “authentic” Asian cuisine. Gamblers who spend a lot may get free food along with free accommodations.

The casino also will offer Asian entertainment. It will stage a series of Chinese New Year events for the Year of the Dog, which starts on Feb. 16. The casino’s celebration will begin on Feb. 25 and will include the distribution of red envelope “surprises” and a traditional dragon dance.

“The Lunar New Year offers the perfect opportunity to showcase all of our amenities and services that provide an authentic Asian cultural and gaming experience,” said Ryan Eller, president and CEO of Empire Resorts, owner of Resorts World Catskills.

The Catskills casino is part of an effort by Genting Group chairman and CEO Lim Kok Thay to expand beyond the corporation’s Asian roots into the U.S.

Lim, 66, is part of the family trust that owns Kien Huat Realty, an investment company that is the majority shareholder in both Empire Resorts and Genting Berhad, the holding company of the Genting Group. In addition to the local casino, the conglomerate is building a $4 billion casino in Las Vegas and expanding operations at its profitable Aqueduct Raceway casino.

Lim’s father, Lim Goh Tong, founded Genting in 1965, after immigrating to Malaysia from Fujian, China. Lim Kok Thay joined the family business after earning a civil engineering degree in London and took over in 2003. His net worth is $4.45 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Lim declined to be interviewed about the Catskills venture, but he told The Peak Malaysia in September that, “I think our founder left behind a very good culture in terms of the company and its people. Honesty is important; to deal fairly with your partners and also treat our employees correctly. That’s the core value that a lot us in this company have adopted.

“We try to practice this in whatever way we can, especially when expanding into new countries. I think a relationship that can be trusted is the foremost thing that one should look for. It’s not just having partners to make money with, but also having ones that you can rely on so you are able to sleep at night!”



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