Net-A-Porter.com was arguably one of the first online retailers to hawk high-end designer goods to an international clientele. Its model has proved wildly potent. Countless brands have exerted efforts to mimic Net-A-Porter’s approach, which likewise includes original editorial content. And for good reason: the UK-based brand just sold for approximately $533 million to Richemont–the parent company of luxury brands such as Cartier and Chloe. “Natalie Massenet, who founded Net-a-Porter in 2000, [alone] is estimated to pocket £50 million (approx. $76 million) with the sale of her 18 percent stake in the company,” says Fashionologie.
While the sale will surely bring some changes to the virtual retailer, fans of the site can rest assured Massenet will maintain her executive post (not to mention invest £15 million from the sale back into her company). “Mark Sebba, Net-a-Porter’s chief executive, is also said to be staying on,” says Fashionologie. News has it with the sale will come expansions into Southeast Asia that will surely be exceptionally lucrative for Net-A-Porter. But, there is some skepticism afloat: apparently critics are concerned that the sale may be a catalyst that causes certain luxury brands to pull their stock from Net-A-Porter’s racks says the Financial Times.
Regardless, the sale marks a monumental point in online retail’s evolution. Given the success of the Net-A-Porters and Gilt Groupes of the world, expect the landscape of virtual shops to become increasingly cluttered. Standout retailers like the aforementioned sites will continue to hold prominence over an increasingly proliferated market. But as the economy continues to strengthen, there will surely be a newfound flood of aspiring shopkeepers looking to cash in on the burgeoning vertical.