Amazon launches seven private fashion labels
Amazon continues to increase its presence in the fashion industry after recently providing funding to Who What Wear, as well as sponsoring India Couture Week and NYFW: Men’s in 2015. The Seattle-based online retailer was even named the number one clothing retailer in the US over Macy’s last year, so it is a bit a mystery as to why it quietly launched seven private fashion labels this week.
Amazon launched seven in-house fashion brands on its US website, which include men’s formal footwear brand, Franklin & Freeman; men’s suiting and accessories brand Franklin Tailored; casual womenswear label James & Erin; women’s accessories line North Eleven; women’s dress and handbag line Society New York; children’s label Scout + Ro; and women’s contemporary brand Lark & Ro. The seven lines together account for over 1,800 SKUs, and only Scout + Ro and Lark & Ro have logos and range descriptions.
The American press reported in October that the company might launch its own fashion brands. The press also took notice to six registered trademarks by Amazon that share the names with four of the six new labels, which are Franklin Tailored, James & Erin, North Eleven and Society New York.
Keybanc Capital Markets retail analysts said to CNN Money on the in-house brand launches, "Twelve years after entering the [fashion] category, Amazon's customer engagement in apparel remains low with only about 15% of Amazon's active customers shopping fashion." Despite its low engagement, clothing is the third fastest growing product area for the company after cell phones and kitchen products, according to Quartz. Leading analyst, Ed Yurma added, “If Amazon is successful in this initiative, it could be "disruptive to the whole industry.”
Amazon showed its interest in fashion as early as 2006 when it acquired Shopbop and in 2009 when it acquired Zappos for $850 million. The online retailer is also behind online menswear shopping destination East Dane and provided funding to Who What Wear in 2015. The launch of the new in-house labels is the first time Amazon is selling own brand products.
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