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Shein Reportedly Rebuffed by National Retail Federation Ahead of IPO


Shein reportedly has some work to do if it wants to court the U.S. retail industry.

The fast fashion giant filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. last year, but has also been trying to become a member of the National Retail Federation (NRF), CNBC reported Monday (May 13.)

So far, those repeated attempts have been unsuccessful, the report said, citing sources familiar with the matter. An NRF spokesperson told PYMNTS the group does not comment on its “membership process or on individual retailers.”

PYMNTS has contacted Shein for comment but has not yet gotten a reply.

The CNBC report notes that for most retailers, NRF membership would not have that big of an impact on their business. Joining the group would connect them to the retail industry’s lobbying operation in Washington among other benefits.

Shein, however, is in the middle of a “charm offensive,” the report argues, trying to convince lawmakers it can become a public company in the U.S. in spite of worries about its connection to China — where it was founded, though it is now based in Singapore — and its supply chain.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in February to prevent the company from listing unless it makes additional disclosures about its business operations and “the serious risks of doing business” in China.

Rubio wrote to SEC Chair Gary Gensler that Shein’s decision to seek approval from Beijing for a prospective U.S. IPO “raises serious doubts” about the accuracy of the company’s filings.

Meanwhile, the company’s supply chain has also drawn criticism, with a recent report by Swiss human rights group Public Eye claiming that workers for some of its suppliers are still working 75 hours per week, despite the retailer pledging to improve conditions.

The scrutiny the company has faced has apparently led Shein to consider listening on the London market rather than the U.S. Those reports surfaced in February, with Reuters reporting over the weekend that the company had stepped up its efforts toward a U.K. IPO.

Monday’s news came the same day as reports that Shein rival Temu was shifting its focus away from the U.S. amid similar scrutiny. That company too has connections to China, and the U.S. government’s recent campaign against TikTok has apparently made Temu nervous.

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