Bailian Group is launching its own multilabel store in Shanghai on Sept. 2. Called The Balancing, the store features a mix of international and local, avant-garde and commercial brands, fashion and lifestyle products aimed at both men and women. A survey of 85 key department store operators conducted by the China Commerce Association for General Merchandise saw total sales for the sample up 5.45% year-on-year and core operating profits down 0.69%. More than half of the sample - 55.3% - witnessed a drop in sales in 2016, while among those who registered positive sales growth, only 5.88% enjoyed exceptional sales growth, classified as growth of more than 20% year-over-year. Bailian Group has been visible in adapting to China's new retail reality, most notably by partnering with Alibaba Group in February in an agreement that would see the two groups co-operate on everything from retail store design, to research and development, customer relationship and supply chain management. This first store, 5,380 sq ft. for a women's store and 6,450 sq ft. for men's in the Oriental Department store in the busy shopping district of Xujiahui, is an experiment that Zhuang isn't sure will be replicated in any of Bailian's other 26 department stores around China.