Farfetch becomes foe-worthy of Yoox after buying Browns

US Farfetch has closely caught up on rival Yoox by acquiring London-based Browns Fashions for an undisclosed sum in a cash and shares deal.

"We have been a very successful partner of Farfetch for over two years and have enjoyed the journey," Browns founder Joan Burstein said today. "We are delighted to be able to announce that this is the next step for Browns and we couldn't think of a better, more forward-thinking partner to take the reins and respond to the challenges of the future."

The well-loved London boutique has been acquired by the upscale online fashion ‘unicorn’ for an undisclosed sum.

As Farfetch explained in a statement it issued Tuesday overnight, the move is part of "a long-term plan to develop a global technology platform that will shape the retail experience of the future."

Browns, “the future of fashion” for Farfetch

Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves hinted as well that the acquisition pursues the materialisation of the future of shopping.

“The vision is to answer the question 'How will people shop for luxury fashion 5 or 10 years into the future?' This won't be purely online. The answer, we believe, will be a seamless merge of a fantastic physical experience with powerful, yet subtle technology. Browns is the perfect partner for this evolution."

At the helm of Browns for the next chapter of the London-based fashion boutique will be Holli Rogers, formerly the fashion director of Net-a-Porter. She has been named CEO of the store, which will be run as an independent business from Farfetch, reported ‘The New York Magazine’.

It is worth recalling that not even a month ago, Italian luxury online platform Yoox agreed to buy Richemont's Net-a-Porter in an all-share deal to create an industry leader with combined sales of 1.3 billion euros.

The online fashion sector is attracting growing interest from investors eager to gain exposure to a fast-expanding business that is likely to be critical to future sales, particularly among Millennials, highlights the ‘Wall Street Journal’.

In this vein, broker JP Morgan Cazenove last month said some luxury goods executives and consultants believed 20 to 40 percent of luxury sales in mainland China were now done in parallel trading, recalled the financial journal.

On the financial side of things, Farfetch sales are expected to deliver sales over 500 million dollars this year, up from 320 million in 2014. Likewise, Browns now makes more than a quarter of its sales online.

 

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