Farfetch is getting ready for an initial public offering (IPO) — after nearly a decade in existence — with a listing that is widely expected to place the firm’s value north of £4 billion ($5.56 billion), according to news from The Guardian.
As its IPO draws near, Farfetch — which connects nearly 900 boutiques and luxury brands to nearly 2 million affluent and luxury-enthused consumers — is upping the level of its partnership game through the announcement of a new pair-up with high-end department store Harvey Nichols. This pairing is the latest in a series of well-heeled consumer brands that already include such iconic brands as Burberry and Chanel.
Reports also indicate that as of the close of last week, Farfetch had recruited help with its IPO from JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs to work on a U.S. listing that would give the firm a valuation well north of $5 billion. Such a valuation would put FarFetch in fairly elite company, with players like Burberry and ASOS — firms valued at £7 billion and £6.3 billion pounds respectively.
Farfetch was founded by Portuguese fashion entrepreneur José Neves in 2008 with the goal of creating an online marketplace for luxury boutiques and brands.
“We want to become the global platform for luxury,” said Neves. “Department stores are very good at brand awareness and contact with their local customers … Farfetch offers access to customers in China, Japan and Korea as well as emerging markets like Russia and Latin America.”
The average age of Farfetch’s luxury shopper is 36 — somewhat younger than usual, which explains why brands like Harvey Nichols were enthusiastic to sign on.
In recent years, the Harvey Nichols brand has somewhat disappeared from the high fashion radar. The dip in sales has resulted in store closures around the world. In recent months, the firm has affirmed its “commitment to embracing cutting-edge digital technology, to create a model of the future.”
Farfetch doesn’t buy any stock or run its own own logistics operation. Instead, the retailer relies on third-party sales on its marketplace. Farfetch is co-chaired by Dame Natalie Massenet, who founded Net-a-Porter.
“Bringing such an iconic and much-loved department store to Farfetch is a strategic milestone for both companies,” said Massenet. “Farfetch is proving it is truly the technology platform for the whole luxury fashion industry.”