Feb 17, 2013
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ShowroomPrivé eyes 500 million euro sales mark for 2014

Feb 17, 2013

The flash sales site intends to keep up the momentum and strengthen its fashion offer, pursuing a strategy opposite to the diversification being practiced by its biggest competitor. At the same time, the website is readying its launch in Poland, working on its development in northern Europe and considering Brazil as its next move.


After launches in Spain, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium, ShowroomPrivé now intends to bring its business well beyond France. The company has international ambitions whose content has evolved over several seasons. "Initially, this expansion was intended to draw brands that saw that as important," said Thierry Petit, CEO of the site. "But now an international presence is more than just a means to attract these brands. It is mainly one of the most important growth platforms."

This international expansion will also allow the e-retailer to test its mettle in highly competitive markets, whereas in France it only has essentially one competitor, Vente-Privée. "In these countries, there are many players involved in flash sales," said the CEO. "Which is healthier, contrary to what one might think, as brands and consumers are more accustomed to a diverse and larger selection."

Poland is scheduled to join ShowroomPrivé's territories within three months. In the meantime, the site's management is studying the markets of Northern Europe, which will likely mean an English language site in multiple currencies. As for far-away Brazil, there are no firm plans until the website finds a suitable partner on site.

As fashion already represents 70% of the website's offer, it is destined to gain a stronger presence on the site no matter what happens. "I am not in favor of diversification in all directions, with brands lost between comedy shows and holidays," said the CEO, alluding to how Vente-Privée functions. Instead, he intends to focus on a client type: women between ages 25 and 42, two-thirds of whom are mothers and who consider fashion a major priority when it comes to shopping.

It is also an audience for whom ShowroomPrivé has developed sales with next-day delivery. 40% of ShowroomPrivé orders are made with next-day delivery, a ratio that the company would like to keep. "This is a good equilibrium in terms of cash and inventories remain difficult to finance," explained Thierry Petit, referring to the problems of American Gilt, who systematized the process.

If the website does not intend to position itself in luxury, it also has no plans to become a discounter, as clearly targeted by the many generalist e-commerce sites. "We appeal less to the fashionista than to the digital mom," said the CEO. "But we are not restricting ourselves to the big names in the sector by featuring designer brands at affordable prices such as Tara Jarmon or Comptoir des Cotonniers."

The website generated 250 million euros in sales last year. "A very good year" for a site that calls itself "a small, modest troublemaker" in flash sales. With 10 million visitors in France, the site emphasizes its well-managed marketing costs, its internal supply chain and its "good cash flow." As Thierry Petit says, "it is easy to grow, but to create profitability is much more complicated." Is that a message to a competitor?

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