Founded in 2007 by José Neves and launched the following year, Farfetch is a global online destination for luxury fashion with gross merchandise value (GMV) reaching $3.2bn (£2.5bn) and more than 3 million active consumers in 2020. Its businesses include:
- The Farfetch Marketplace – Global luxury marketplace covering more than 190 countries with merchandise from more than 1,300 sellers. Of these, approximately 780 are small independent boutiques, with the remainder comprising direct e-concessions from brands, including both major labels and small businesses. Its boutique partners are located across more than 50 countries and cover in excess of 3,500 designer brands between them.
- Farfetch Platform Solutions (FPS) - A white-label offering for the luxury industry, FPS builds and operates ecommerce and technology solutions for luxury brands and retailers, using the proprietary Farfetch platform. FPS also offers ancillary services such as digital marketing, production and customer service.
- Farfetch Store of the Future - Store of the Future develops and implements technology solutions for luxury retailers, enabling them to connect digital and physical to create new luxury experiences with the consumer at the centre.
- Browns – An iconic British fashion and luxury goods retailer owned by Farfetch since 2015, Browns is used as an incubator for new retail ideas.
- Stadium Goods – A premium sneaker and streetwear marketplace and retailer, Stadium Goods was acquired in 2018.
- New Guards – Farfetch acquired the New Guards group in a £556m deal in 2019 and uses the group’s design capabilities to launch ‘brands of the future’.
Through its various business units, Farfetch continues to invest in innovation and develop key technologies and services for the luxury fashion industry. Hot on the heels of an ecommerce tie-up with Burberry in early 2018 came news that Chanel had taken a minority stake in Farfetch as part of a collaboration to develop digital initiatives. Since then, Harvey Nichols and Harrods have both started partnering with Farfetch for ecommerce ventures.
Boosting its position in China has become a top priority and in early 2019 acquired JD.com’s luxury marketplace Toplife to this end. This was taken to another level at the end of 2020 when Farfetch entered into a Chinese partnership with ecommerce giant Alibaba and luxury goods powerhouse Richemont which has seen it launch on Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion from March 2021.
The above alliances form part of Farfetch’s ‘Luxury New Retail’ initiative, looking at how partnerships can be used to drive digital transformation.
Farfetch successfully floated on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2018, raising some $885m to fund the continued expansion of its technology platform and fuel international growth.
While sales have grown rapidly, the business has yet to turn a profit, with pre-tax losses escalating in 2020.
Innovation rating: 4