August 3, 2012, 12:51 PM

PPR and Yoox team up to conquer the world of luxury e-retail

The joint venture seeks to sell brands like Yves St. Laurent globally via the web.

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PPR SA, one of the biggest retail conglomerates in Europe, and Yoox Group, an online apparel retailer and e-commerce services provider, have a launched a joint venture aimed at the global luxury apparel market.

Under the joint venture that will be 51% owned by PPR and the rest by Yoox, the two companies will build a company that will expand the e-commerce operation of PPR’s luxury and sports apparel brands, such as Bottega Veneta, Yves St. Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Sergio Rossi.

PPR, No. 5 in the 2012 Top 400 Europe will oversee marketing, merchandising and related operations, while Yoox, No. 69 in the Top 400 Europe and No. 52 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500, will provide e-commerce platform management and logistics services. In addition to operating Yoox.com, which generated sales of nearly $400 million in 2011, Yoox also provides e-commerce services for other mostly apparel retailers and consumer brand manufacturers, including DolceGabbana.com, Dsquared2.com, JilSander.com and RobertoCavalli.com.

Yoox and PPR announced in June that preliminary discussions for the joint venture were underway, but now that the transaction is final both companies are looking to build business internationally, including in China. “Two industry leaders have joined forces to launch the most complete and long-term online luxury retailing venture in the web,” says Yoox CEO Federico Marchetti. “Leveraging  Yoox Group's technology, customer logistics and specialized digital luxury fashion know-how, the online flagship stores resulting from the joint venture will be tailor-made together with each PPR luxury brand and are perfectly positioned for the immense growth in this sector.”

The new joint venture expects to have redesigned web stores operating on a single technology platform for BottegaVeneta.com, YvesSaintLaurent.com, AlexanderMcQueen.com, Balenciaga.com and SergioRossi.com by the end of year and to launch online in China by the end of 2013.

“Because our brands are global, we need online flagship stores to be accessible all over the world,” says PPR vice president of electronic business Federico Barbieri. “With this strategic partnership with a global leader in fashion e-commerce, we are giving our luxury brands the opportunity to take full advantage of its upside potential.”

The joint venture is a new approach to e-commerce for PPR, which traditionally has managed its multiple e-commerce brands in-house, including Redcats USA (No. 34 in the 2012 Top 500). But PPR now lists Redcats as a discontinued operation and in the past has tried to sell the organization.

But an e-commerce joint venture will help PPR better focus on selling online to the luxury goods market, says CEO François-Henri Pinault. “This joint venture will allow PPR to generate synergies and shared resources available to our brands through best-in-class e-commerce expertise,” says Pinault. “And with this strategic partnership with Yoox Group, we invest in key skills essential to grow our business in the future.”

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