Zalando Takes on Richemont in Bid to Enter Online Luxury

(Bloomberg) -- Zalando SE, Europe’s largest online fashion retailer, will add more premium brands in a move that will position it head-to-head with Richemont’s e-commerce business Yoox Net-a-Porter.

Zalando plans to double its premium and luxury assortment by the end of 2023 to gain a bigger share in the 38 billion-euro ($41.5 billion) market for high-end fashion, the company said Thursday. Zalando has started out by adding Moschino Couture and Alberta Ferretti.

Millennials have been accelerating a trend of increased purchases of luxury goods online as they grow more comfortable having higher-priced items delivered instead of setting foot in brick-and-mortar boutiques. That has prompted Richemont, the maker of Cartier jewelry and Vacheron Constantin timepieces, to bolster e-commerce through acquisitions and a partnership with China’s Alibaba.

Zalando Takes on Richemont in Bid to Enter Online Luxury

The shares dropped as much as 5.8% in Frankfurt amid a global stock sell-off as the coronavirus’s spread around the world weighs on consumer companies. They’ve risen 61% over the past 12 months.

Zalando’s 2020 profit guidance is “perhaps a little light,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Geoff Ruddell said in a note.

Zalando Takes on Richemont in Bid to Enter Online Luxury

Zalando will also start offering a platform to buy and sell pre-owned fashion items in the third quarter.

While Zalando keeps adding customers, the rate at which it was able to gain new clients stalled last year, suggesting intense competition from both brick-and-mortar fashion retailers and online specialists from Asos Plc to Boohoo Group Plc and Amazon.com Inc.

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