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Johan Rupert’s Richemont set to digitise luxury industry

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Johan Rupert, founder of Richemont. Photo: YouTube
Johan Rupert, founder of Richemont. Photo: YouTube

Johan Rupert-owned luxury brand Richemont is creating a neutral, industry-wide platform, built on the latest omni-channel retail technologies, to support the digitisation of the luxury industry.

Richemont, listed on the Switzerland and Johannesburg stock exchanges, announced today it is in advanced discussions with British-Portuguese online luxury fashion retail platform Farfetch, with a view to enhancing the partnership it established last year.

The scope of the discussions includes Richemont Maisons leveraging Farfetch technology to accelerate luxury new retail developments and Richemont Maisons joining the Farfetch marketplace.

Also under consideration is Farfetch investing directly in online luxury and fashion retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter as a minority shareholder, with other investors to be invited to participate alongside Yoox Net-a-Porter, leveraging Farfetch platform solutions to support its ongoing transition to a hybrid 1P/3P business model.

A first-party relationship (1P) means the marketplace acts as the retailer, and the brand is the wholesale supplier. A third-party relationship (3P) is when the brand is the retailer, and sells directly to buyers via the marketplace.

Richemont business operations include: Jewellery Maisons with Buccellati, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels; specialist watchmakers with A Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin; and online distributors with Watchfinder & Co, Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter, The Outnet and Yoox.

In a statement to shareholders today, Richemont says other industry players and investors have already indicated their interest in investing in Yoox Net-a-Porter alongside Richemont and Farfetch.

“The ultimate objective is for Yoox Net-a-Porter to be a neutral platform, with no controlling shareholders.

“Richemont continues to work with Farfetch towards definitive agreements and will provide an update in due course, if and when appropriate.”

However, the company cautioned there can be no certainty the discussions will lead to definitive agreements, nor as to the timing or terms of any transaction.

“Any transaction would be subject to the receipt of clearances from relevant anti-trust authorities,” it says.

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