Alibaba Group is investing $867 mn to get 15 per cent stake in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing, China’s second-largest home-improvement supplies and furniture chain, continuing its ongoing drive to expand New Retail- a business model that integrates brick-and-mortar and online shopping to create a seamless experience for consumers – to various sectors.

“The investment will combine the strengths of the world’s largest ecommerce platform and rich offline sources of Easyhome,” Alibaba said in a statement. Easyhome has 223 stores in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across China. The Beijing-based company is also a leading player in home design, refurbishment service and building materials.

With over 580 mn active monthly users on its e-commerce platform and advanced analytical capabilities, Alibaba is in a unique position to provide brand partners with timely and accurate insights into consumer preferences and buying behaviour. The tie-up will provide both online and offline customers with a comprehensive home-improvement solution, Alibaba said.

In November last year, Hangzhou-based Alibaba took a 36 per cent stake in Sun Art Retail Group, the largest hypermarket operator in China. Alibaba also has a stake in China’s biggest consumer electronic chains Suning Commerce Group, as well as in department store powerhouse Intime Retail.