Retail news round-up on March 5, 2015: ASA bans Amazon’s misleading Prime ‘free trial’ ad, Farfetch raises financing, Harvey Norman reduces Irish losses

ASA bans Amazon’s misleading Prime ‘free trial’ ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned Amazon from sending an advertisement to customers promoting a ‘free trial’ of its Amazon Prime service after it found to be misleading, The Telegraph reported. Shoppers complained that they were not aware they would be charged £79 for the service after the free trial period ended.

The direct mail was sent to Amazon customers and included a plastic card stating ‘30-day free trial’ of Amazon Prime. The watchdog said the letter wasn’t clear enough about the subscription fees for the service and that consumers should be told that they will be automatically charged after the one month free trial. The regulator ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

Farfetch raises financing to value at $1bn

Luxury fashion retailer Farfetch has announced an $86m Series E funding, led by Yuri Milner’s investment group DST Global, with participation from existing investors Condé Nast International and Vitruvian Partners. The round of financing brings the total amount of capital the company has raised to date to over $195m. The deal values the British online start-up at $1bn.

The firm will use this latest injection of funds to drive its international expansion, launching new local language sites in German, Korean and Spanish and adding new offices to those it already operates in London, New York, Los Angeles, Porto and São Paulo.

Harvey Norman reduces Irish losses

Harvey Norman Ireland narrowed its losses last year to €7.4m, down from about €11m. The homewares and furniture retailer’s revenues rose by 4% to €149.2m in the year to the end of last June. Like-for-like sales increased more than 8%.