Today, Farfetch, a fashion ecommerce site specializing on international boutiques, announced a US $66 million investment led by private equity firm Vitruvian Partners. Other participants in the round of funding include previous investors Condé Nast International and Advent Ventures, as well as new investor Richard Chen of Beijing-based Ceyuan Ventures.
This funding comes amidst a growing level of competition in the online fashion retail space, with Farfetch facing up against some aggressive, deep-pocketed competitors including Net-a-Porter (owned by Richemont Group), Mytheresa.com, MatchesFashion.com, LuisaViaRoma, Shopbop.com (owned by Amazon, Inc.), and a number of others, all of whom are seeking ways to somehow differentiate themselves within the pack.
Despite these intensifying macro-level conditions, Farfetch has been on a growth tear as of late, growing 100% year-over-year to reach a US $275 million annual run rate, with 7 million monthly visits to its site. The company credits that growth largely due to its strategy of selectively partnering with boutiques (who in turn focus on acquiring exclusive inventory) to provide a “more intimate” shopping experience. Farfetch now seeks to continue that growth through a more localized offering in select, high-growth international markets and expansion to new territories including the Middle East, where it recently launched with regional boutique D’NA.
José Neves, Farfetch’s Founder and CEO, told Style.com/Arabia: “This round of investment will help fuel a number of our key strategic goals including facilitating our omni-channel proposition.” Through its network of partner boutiques (now numbering 300 with over 1,000 outlets globally), Farfetch aims to allow shoppers to purchase online and pick-up or return items from any store within that network.
Neves went on to state that the funding will be used to “escalate the development of local language sites for key markets (Russia, Japan, China), allowing [Farfetch] to focus resources on looking at expanding our boutique partners in newer territories such as the Middle East and accelerating engineering developments to help facilitate a dynamic, responsive experience.”
In total, Farfetch has raised US $100 million to date, including US $20 million in March 2013 in an investment led by Condé Nast International. At that time, Farfetch reported US $129 million in annual sales and 4.3 million monthly site visits.
We’ll be watching this space closely.