Luxury fashion platform Farfetch has signed a joint venture deal with Chalhoub Group to combine the two business’s respective areas of expertise to build the leading luxury platform in the Middle East.
Chalhoub Group is the leading partner for luxury across the Middle East and the deal will see its knowledge of retail, marketing and distribution in the area combined with Farfetch’s e-commerce, technology and logistics platform.
The announcement comes on the back of a similar deal signed in the summer of last year with China’s largest retailer JD.com which aimed to give luxury brands a gateway into the Chinese market.
Plans under the Chalhoub deal include: a launch in Arabic language in the first half of 2018; curation of goods for the local consumer; and an increase in local supply through the on-boarding of Chalhoub Group’s network of own concept stores and other partner franchises. In addition, Farfetch will maximise its VIP offering, with a personal and curated service for customers who want support to find the items they seek.
As a result of the deal Farfetch will also open its first office in the Middle East, in Dubai, giving it a physical presence in of the world’s top 10 luxury fashion markets.
José Neves, Founder and CEO of Farfetch, said, “As one of the largest luxury markets in the world, the Middle East is of great strategic importance to Farfetch. Our joint venture with Chalhoub Group represents our commitment to being thoughtful and thorough with regards to our expansion efforts in the region, which is an opportunity for our business and the brands and boutiques we work with around the world.
“It’s also great for our customers, bringing lovers of luxury fashion in the Middle East and beyond even greater choice, and incredible products that they can’t find anywhere else from around the world. Chalhoub Group is the best partner we could have on board, with its incredible history, deep market knowledge and experience with the joint venture model. It’s fantastic to be working with them as we expand our efforts in the Middle East.”
Chalhoub Group has launched a number of e-commerce websites in the Middle East, including levelshoes.com, levelkids.com. wojooh.com, loccitane.ae/sa and tryano.com. The deal with Farfetch plays into its digital transformation strategy and is aligned with its luxury positioning and customer centric approach.
“Being consumer centric, we wanted to bring new proposals to our clients while accelerating our digital journey. Partnering with Farfetch seems an obvious choice as we share the same values of Excellence and Entrepreneurial Spirit as well as the same passion for fashion, consumer, innovation, retail excellence and memorable experience,” said Chalhoub Group CEO Patrick Chalhoub.
“Farfetch is the pioneer of the new luxury fashion environment whilst Chalhoub Group has been a pioneer of luxury retail in the Middle East over the last 62 years. Therefore, we think there is a perfect match between our two groups. As one of our first contribution’s to Farfetch’s development in the region, we are pleased to announce that Level Shoes, Level Kids and Tryano concepts stores will become some of Farfetch’s partner boutiques, providing them in turn a global reach,” he added.
At the end of 2016, rival online luxury group Yoox Net-A-Porter signed a joint venture deal with Mohamed Alabbar in the Middle East. Under the terms of the deal Alabbar, also chairman of Symphony Investments, would focus his entire online luxury retail activity in the region exclusively through the new joint venture.
YNAP too set up an office in the region and local YOOX.com and The Outnet.com stores are due to debut this year, while Net-A-Porter.com and Mr Porter.com are scheduled to launch in 2019, followed by select Online Flagship Stores (the online stores YNAP develops and manages for other luxury brands).