French fashion e-tailer Vente-privee has revealed that sales jumped 46 per cent to £545m last year.

Millions of shoppers joined the private sales website last year to buy their designer clothes and handbags.

Vente-privee holds secret sales events online for designer brands that want to clear excess stock in a more discreet way than through outlet stores.

Vente-privee founder Jacques-Antoine Granjon has forecast sales growth of more than 20 per cent for this year.

“Selling discounted goods is a defensive market,” he told the Guardian. “It is a good business when retail is in growth but it is also easier to sell discounted rather than full-price products during a recession.”