A growing number of M&A deals and investment rounds are bringing together some of the biggest names in the fashion and luxury space. In November, a $1.15 billion deal came to light, bringing together Cartier’s parent company Richemont, Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, and fashion retail platform Farfetch. The headline-making transaction followed from reports that a “mega deal” was in the making. In addition to proving noteworthy because it brought together three very big names in the fashion sphere in furtherance of an effort that largely focuses on “providing luxury brands with enhanced access to the China market,” the alliance is striking, as it has given rise to speculation about a potential consolidation, with at least some analysts wondering aloud whether the $1.15 billion tie-up could be “a preamble” a larger M&A effort, namely, Richemont merging Yoox Net-a-Porter with Farfetch or the Swiss conglomerate selling the fashion e-commerce pioneer to Alibaba. 

Around the same time, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton decided to make good on an acquisition effort of its own, the one it had also been quietly (and then not so quietly) working towards: Tiffany & Co. Just a matter of days before the Farfetch-Alibaba-YNAP deal was confirmed, LVMH and Tiffany revealed that they had managed to put their rival lawsuits to bed and come to agreeable terms under which the famed New York-based jewelry stalwart could be brought under the ownership umbrella of the Paris-based luxury goods titan. In exchange for $15.8 billion, LVMH would acquire all shares in the formerly publicly-traded Tiffany & Co.

Both instances come as consolidation has been top of mind in the luxury space, where the biggest groups, such as Louis Vuitton-owner LVMH and Gucci’s parent company Kering, have amassed sizable rosters of brands over the past several decades by way of various fashion and luxury-centric M&A transactions, thereby, enabling them to benefit from sheer size and scale, while making it more difficult for independently-owned brands to compete. The havoc wreaked on brands’ balance sheets by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shift online (and the expenses that come with doing that and doing it well) is expected to accelerate that existing fashion industry M&A activity even further. 

“With the financial difficulties [brought about by COVID] in mind, many players, and in particular the smallest, will become more-affordable M&A targets,” according to Isabelle Chaboud, an Associate Professor in the Finance, Accounting and Law Department of Grenoble Ecole de Management. “The most financially solid players – such as LVMH, Kering or Chanel – will no doubt have the option of buying out competitors, subcontractors and even suppliers.”

A Timeline of Transactions

With the foregoing in mind, here is a running timeline of the most recent fashion and luxury-focused M&A and investments dating back to LVMH’s headline-making deal with Tiffany & Co. … 

Oct. 5, 2022 – Fendi Takes Majority Stake in Knitwear Supplier

Fendi has taken a majority stake in Italian knitwear company Maglificio Matisse, a long-time supplier for the LVMH-owned brand, as well as other similarly-situated brands. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Fendi chairman and chief executive officer, Serge Brunschwig, said, “Together with the openings of our Fendi factory in Tuscany for leather goods and in Marche for shoes, this acquisition marks another step of our maison toward its commitment to support Made-in-Italy and its supply chain.”

Sept. 23, 2022 – Diego Della Valle to Buy Outstanding Stake in Tod’s

Tod’s founder Diego Della Valle will buy out remaining shares in Italian footwear brand Tod’s SpA by way of a medium-term loan provided by BNP Paribas SA’s BNL unit, Credit Agricole SA and Deutsche Bank AG. According to a regulatory filing from Della Valle’s DeVa Finance Srl, the Della Valle family will use its 49 percent stake in Tod’s as collateral for the 420 million-euro ($409 million) loan to fund the buy out.

Among the objectives of the move – which will serve to delist the Sant’Elpidio a Mare, Italy-headquartered group from the Milan Stock Exchange – is to “enhance the individual brands” that fall under the group’s umbrella, including Tod’s, Roger Vivier, Hogan and Fay, “giving them strong individual visibility and great operational autonomy,” Italian publication Il Sole 24 Ore reported. Della Valle “intends to strengthen the positioning of the [these] brands in the upper part of the quality and luxury market,” and focus on “the optimization of the worldwide distribution network.”

Among the “curiosities” of the newly-announced plan, the publication, noted was the absence of Chiara Ferragni at the Tod’s board meeting on Sept. 22 during which time the board approved the offer document. Ferragni was named to the Tod’s board in April 2021.

Sept. 16, 2022 – Everlane Secures $90 Million in Debt Financing

Everlane has secured $90 million in debt financing, including a $65 million revolving credit facility and a $25 million first-in last-out term loan, according to releases from Houlihan Lokey Advisers and CIT Northbridge Credit. “This financing will provide acceleration for our business through new stores and product expansion and allow us to continue to extend our mission of sustainability at a much-needed time in the world,” Everlane founder Michael Preysman said in statement. Beyond that, Everlane revealed that the funding will enable the company to “refinance existing indebtedness and provide incremental liquidity for growth initiatives as well as to pay transaction-related fees and expenses.”

“With the trends we’re observing in the apparel space and the heightened focus on sustainability and environmental impact, we are pleased to work with Everlane to be on the front lines of this transformation,” Neal Legan, managing director at CIT Northbridge Credit, said.

Sept. 15, 2022 – Prada Takes Stake in Tuscan Tannery Superior SpA

Prada SpA has acquired a 43.65 percent stake in Tuscan calfskin tannery Superior SpA, further “tightening its grip on its supply chain,” per Reuters. “The acquisition of a shareholding in Superior represents another important step in the strategic direction towards vertical integration of the Prada Group’s supply chain,” CEO Patrizio Bertelli said.

Sept. 6, 2022 – D’Amelio Family Raises $6 Million to Launch Brands Venture

The D’Amelio family, which includes sisters Charli and Dixie who are two of the most heavily-followed and top-earning TikTok personalities, has raised a $6 million seed round to launch a new fashion and lifestyle-focused venture. The new project, D’Amelio Brands, “will create its own brands in a variety of industries including fashion, beauty and lifestyle that are 100 percent owned by the family,” per CNBC. Investors in the round include Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt, and Apple Senior Vice President of Services Eddy Cue. 

Sept. 5, 2022 – Alexander Wang Raises First Outside Funds

Alexander Wang has announced its first-ever outside investment, with two China-based entities – venture capital fund Challenjers Capital and apparel manufacturing and real estate firm Youngor Group – taking an undisclosed minority stake in the New York-based brand, whose eponymous founder and creative director has faced sexual assault allegations in recent years. According to Vogue, “The investment will be used to support the brand’s rehabilitation efforts, which began with a comeback runway show in Los Angeles in April. Wang projects that the funding, along with the external expertise that accompanies it, will help to double the company’s revenue within five years — it currently turns over $200 million annually.” Such anticipated growth is expected to come by way of the Asian market and an expansion of the brand’s offerings.

Aug. 24, 2022 – Farfetch to Acquire 47.5% Stake in Yoox-Net-a-Porter

Richemont and Farfetch have finalized the long-rumored deal in furtherance of which Richemont will sell a 47.5 percent stake in Yoox-Net-a-Porter to Farfetch. In a statement on Tuesday, Richemont revealed that Symphony Global, one of the investment vehicles of Mohamed Alabbar, which currently maintains a Middle Eastern joint venture with YNAP, will also take a 3.2 percent stake, making YNAP “a neutral industry-wide platform,” and “lay[ing] a path towards FARFETCH potentially acquiring the remaining shares in YNAP [and] bringing together these highly complementary businesses.” The partnership marks “a step change in Richemont Maisons’ omnichannel distribution capabilities,” the Swiss luxury goods group revealed on Tuesday, noting that the “landmark transaction” represents a move “towards the digitalization of the luxury industry.” 

Aug. 21, 2022 – Noon to Acquire Namshi for $335 Million

Middle-Eastern e-commerce retailer Noon will acquire Namshi for in a deal that values the fashion retailer at $335.2 million. Emaar Properties announced on Saturday that it reached a deal “in-principle” to sell of Namshi to Noon, the latter of which is backed by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar and Saudi Arabian sovereign fund the Public Investment Fund. “The planned divestment is with a related party to the Company,” Ahmad Thani Al Matrooshi, the Director & Managing Director at Emaar Properties, said in connection with the impending deal, seemingly referring to Alabbar’s role as the Founder and Chairman of Emaar Properties, as well as a co-founder of Noon.com. “Detailed information will be disclosed once the approvals of Noon Board are received formally,” Al Matrooshi said.

Dubai-headquartered Emaar, the company behind properties, such as the Dubai Mall, first acquired a 51 percent stake in Namshi in 2017 for $281 million, and acquired the remaining 49 percent in 2019.

Aug. 16, 2022 – Authentic Brands Snaps Up Ted Baker

Authentic Brands Group has agreed to buy British fashion company Ted Baker in a deal that is worth approximately 211 million pounds ($254 million). “Pandemic-related losses forced Ted Baker to put itself up for sale in April,” Reuters reports, with a rep for New York-based Authentic Brands stating on Tuesday that it “believes there are significant growth opportunities for the Ted Baker brand in North America given (its) … strong consumer recognition in this market.” Authentic Brands has built up its portfolio of companies significantly over the past several years, with Barneys, David Beckham, Forever 21, Juicy Couture, Vision Street Wear, Brooks Brothers, and Aeropostale, among others, falling under its ownership umbrella.

August 8, 2022 – Sequoia Capital China Acquires Majority Stake in Holzweiler

Sequoia Capital China has acquired a majority stake in Holzweiler to help accelerate the Norwegian fashion and lifestyle brand’s global expansion. The 10-year-old company, which was founded by siblings Andreas and Susanne Holzweiler, said in a statement, as reported by BoF that the strategic partnership with Sequoia Capital China will accelerate its direct-to-consumer business internationally, including the United States, United Kingdom, China. It expects consolidated turnover to amount to $50 million in 2022, up 60 percent year-over-year.

June 13, 2022 – Zalando Acquires Highsnobiety

Berlin-based e-commerce platform Zalando has acquired a majority stake in Highsnobiety, the global pioneer of the new luxury culture, in furtherance of an effort that will see the two companies “join forces to lead the way in engaging and inspiring customers.” While continuing “independent operations,” Zalando says that Highsnobiety “will act as a strategic and creative consultant helping [it] develop new inspiration-focused spaces and formats on its platform.” The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, aside from the parties confirming that Highsnobiety founder and CEO David Fischer will retain a minority stake in the business.

Prior to the deal, Highsnobiety had raised $8.5 million from investors, including Felix Capital, Torch Capital, Reimann Investors, CASSIUS Family, and Holt Renfrew President and CEO Sebastian Picardo, since its founding in 2005, according to Crunchbase.

June 8, 2022 – H&M Group and Lululemon Lead Investment in Climate Fund

H&M Group and Lululemon are among the leading investors in a Fashion Climate Fund spearheaded by nonprofit Apparel Impact Institute. The $250 million fund aims to “support new programs and solutions with a structured pipeline for getting from pilot to scale,” Apparel Impact Institute stated in a release. “We believe it provides a powerful mechanism to overcome the challenges of getting new solutions implemented by the industry, and thereby accelerate the progress on climate action.”

According to Axois, the fund has “attracted $40 million from H&M Group and Lululemon, plus the H&M Foundation and the Schmidt Family Foundation,” noting that further lead partners are expected to each invest a minimum of $10 million over the next eight years.

June 2, 2022 – Pinterest Acquires The Yes

Pinterest will acquire AI-powered shopping platform The Yes. The deal, the terms of which have not been disclosed comes as the San Francisco-based image sharing and social media service looks to double-down on the shopping aspect of its platform. In furtherance of its mission to “learn what you like and get smarter as you shop,” The Yes, which was founded in 2018 by former Stitch Fix COO Julie Bornstein and Amit Aggarwal, maintains “an extensive fashion taxonomy that uses human expertise and machine learning to power a comprehensive algorithm in fashion.”

“THE YES team are experts in building an end-to-end shopping experience. They share our vision of making it simple to find the right products that are personalized for you based on your taste and style,” Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said, noting that in the months following the closing of the transaction, “Pinterest plans to sunset the THE YES app and website to allow the merged teams to focus on technology integration and evolving our shopping vision.”

May 17, 2022 – B2B Fashion Supply Chain Marketplace Fashinza Raises $100M

Fashinza has raised $100 million in a Series B round that co-led by Prosus Ventures and Westbridge with participation from Accel, and Elevation, among others, valuing the B2B fashion marketplace at $300 billion valuation. The Delhi, India-based company describes itself as the “fastest apparel manufacturing platform” that “solves apparel/fashion supply chain challenges by connecting fashion brands to experienced manufacturers.”

The round brings Fashinza’s total funds raised to $135 million, which CEO Pawan Gupta says the company will use to “refine the company’s supply chain technology and expand into new markets, including raw materials procurement.”

May 4, 2022 – Kering Invests in Alternative Leather Startup VitroLabs

Gucci-owner Kering is one of the investors in a $46 million Series A round raised by VitroLabs, along with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, agriculture-focused VC Agronomics, Bestseller’s Invest FWD innovation arm, Khosla Ventures, New Agrarian, and Regeneration VC, among others. California-based VitroLabs, which makes cellular-cultivated leather that “replicates the structure of animal hides,” will use the funding to scale-up its operations and expects to start pilot manufacturing this spring.

“At Kering, a chapter/pillar of our sustainability roadmap is dedicated to sustainable innovation and actively looking for alternative materials that can reduce our environmental impact over the long term is part of the solutions we have been exploring for years. We believe that innovation is key to addressing the sustainability challenges that the luxury industry is facing, which is why we are very interested in the potential of biomaterials such as cultivated leather,” Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer at Kering, said in connection with the finding announcement.

May 2, 2022 – G-III to Acquire Remaining 81 Percent Stake in Karl Lagerfeld Label

DKNY and Sonia Rykiel-owner G-III Apparel Group will acquire the outstanding 81 percent stake in the late Karl Lagerfeld’s eponymous label for $210 million in cash in a deal that will make it the sole owner of the brand. G-III, which first acquired a 19 percent stake in the brand in 2016 after launching a joint venture in 2015, says that it expects that retail sales for the Karl Lagerfeld label could eventually surpass $2 billion.

Apr. 20, 2022 – Destree Raises Series A from Beyonce, Rihanna, Sequoia Capital China

Destree, the Paris-based fashion brand founded by Géraldine Guyot and Laetitia Lumbroso, announced a Series A round that includes big-name investors, such as venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Reese Witherspoon, Gisele Bündchen, Gabriela Hearst, Carmen Busquets, Jessica Alba, Glossier founder Emily Weiss, and Amy Griffin of G9 Ventures. Financial terms were not disclosed, per WWD, but it is understood Guyot and Lumbroso retain majority control of the business, founded in 2016. WWD reports that the funding will be used to “almost double the size of their small team; open Destree’s first freestanding stores; expand into new or underdeveloped markets like the Middle East, China, Japan and the U.S., and supercharge e-commerce operations and digital-native marketing.”

Apr. 5, 2022 – Farfetch Takes Stake in Neiman Marcus Group

Farfetch announced that it will make “a minority common equity investment of up to $200 million” in Neiman Marcus Group in furtherance of a global strategic partnership.” According to a statement from the two retailers, “The partnership builds on Farfetch’s Luxury New Retail vision and advances Neiman Marcus Groups’ pioneering strategy to revolutionize integrated luxury retail, with an initial focus on re-platforming the Bergdorf Goodman website and mobile application to expand its global capabilities and services.” Neiman Marcus says that it will use the proceeds to “further accelerate growth and innovation through investments in technology and digital capabilities.”

In a note about the deal, Bernstein analyst Luca Solca stated that it provides Farfetch “a strategic opportunity to stand out among service providers and to benefit from the strength of the local US customers,” namely by way of its and its Luxury New Retail and Farfetch Platform Solutions, its suite of commerce solutions and retail technology for luxury brands and retailers.

Mar. 14, 2022 – Kering to Bolster Eyewear Unit with Maui Jim

Kering Eyewear has signed an agreement to acquire Maui Jim, Inc., the French luxury goods conglomerate revealed without disclosing the terms of the deal. On the heels of Kering snapping up Danish eyewear brand LINDBERG in July 2021, the group says that “this second key acquisition is also a major step for Kering Eyewear, which has now become unparalleled in its market segment, further validating the strategy that laid behind its creation by Kering in 2014.” The transaction is subject to the clearance by the relevant competition authorities and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

Jan. 28, 2022 – Farfetch to Acquire Violet Grey

Farfetch will acquire beauty brand Violet Grey for an undisclosed sum, the e-commerce platform announced. In a nod to larger implications of the deal, Violet Grey founder Cassandra Grey will act as chairwoman for the brand, while also becoming Farfetch’s global beauty advisor and the co-founder of NGG Beauty, a division of Farfetch’s New Guards Group, with both entities seemingly ramping up their intentions to launch into the beauty space. The launch of a beauty category on the Farfetch marketplace is scheduled for later in the year.

“Farfetch has a really strong track record for acquiring really special, founder-led brands and celebrating and protecting that kind of brand equity,” Grey said in statement inn connection with the confirmation of the deal.

Jan. 27, 2022 – Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS Raises $240 Million

Kim Kardashian’s shapewear label SKIMS raised $240 million in an unknown-series round that was led by hedge fund Lone Pine Capital and that also included D1 Capital Partners, along with existing investors Thrive Capital, Natalie Massenet’s Imaginary Ventures, and Alliance Consumer Growth. The round doubles the barely three-year-old brand at $3.2 billion, up from $1.6 billion in April 2021. Kardashian and SKIMS CEO Jens Grede will retain a controlling stake in the company after the investment, according to Bloomberg.

Jan. 18, 2022 – LVMH Luxury Ventures Invests in Aimé Leon Dore

LVMH’s Luxury Ventures investment vehicle has taken a minority stake in budding New York-based fashion brand Aimé Leon Dore. While the terms of the investment – which appears as though it might be the latest deal to have been brokered by Alexandre Arnault – have not been disclosed, LVMH typically Luxury Ventures typically targets investments ranging from €2 million to €15 million. In a statement on Tuesday, Aimé Leon Dore founder Teddy Santis stated, “LVMH’s vast network of global leaders across the industry and its rich history in growing exceptional storied brands offers a truly unique partnership opportunity to fuel the next chapter of growth for Aimé Leon Dore.”

Jan. 13, 2022 – LVMH Luxury Ventures Takes a Stake in Heat

Mystery boxes are the latest target of investment for LVMH’s Luxury Ventures, with the French luxury goods conglomerate’s fund among the parties to a $5 million round raised by Heat. OTB Group board member and BVX CEO Stefano Rosso, Singapore-headquartered VC firm Antler, L Catterton partner Michael Mitterlehner, Spotify Director of Global Growth Sven Ahrens, and the Hermès family are some of the other investors in London-based Heat’s seed round, the funds from which will be used to “implement gamification, AI-driven personalization, and interactive drops, all while driving sustainability,” the company revealed.

FY 2021


Nov. 22, 2021 – CVC Capital, HPS Investment Take Stake in Authentic Brands

Private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and HPS Investment Partners have acquired “significant equity stakes” in Authentic Brands Group, putting a a $12.7 billion enterprise value on the company and prompting it to postpone a previously-planned planned initial public offering until at least 2023. In a statement, ABG said that “since its founding in 2010, [it] has experienced significant growth by implementing a proven playbook that connects strong brands with best-in-class licensees and a network of partners to optimize value in the marketplace.” Among the 30 or so brands under its ownership umbrella are Forever 21, Barneys New York, Aeropostale, Brooks Brothers, and Vision Street Wear.

Sept. 23, 2021 – G-III to Acquire Sonia Rykiel

G-III Apparel Group revealed that it has entered into an M&A agreement to purchase Sonia Rykiel, with plans to accelerate the relaunch of the French fashion brand primarily in Europe, for the fall of 2022, with collections across multiple categories. The transaction, which comes less than two years after brothers Eric and Michael Dayan successfully bid to acquire all of the bankrupt brand’s assets via a court-administered process. (Those assets included the brand’s intellectual property rights (namely, its various global trademark registrations, and decades of archives and product prototypes); the commercial leases for its brick-and-mortar outposts in France – from its Saint Germain flagship to a glitzy boutique in Cannes, among others; and its remaining stock of garments and accessories.)

The fashion-centric M&A deal is expected to close by the end of October 2021.

Aug. 24, 2021 – Chanel Takes Majority Stake in Paima

Chanel has taken a majority stake in Italian knitwear company Paima, a move that falls in line with a larger pattern of luxury giants looking gain greater control over their supply chains by bringing key third-party companies under their own roofs. “This decision has been motivated by converging interests,” Chanel asserted in a statement, noting that while Paima, which has been a supplier for the French fashion brand for 25 years, “has seen its development accelerate in recent years, it seemed appropriate to have a solid partner to help it grow [further] and invest.” More than that, Chanel revealed that the investment “provides a more sustainable collaboration framework by continuing an already established relationship.”

Aug. 12, 2021 – Authentic Brands Group Buys Reebok

Adidas is selling its Reebok brand to Authentic Brands Groups for up to 2.1 billion euros ($2.46 billion), with the German sporting wear group looking to “focus on its core brand after the U.S. fitness label failed to live up to expectations,” per Reuters. Authentic Brand, which filed its preliminary IPO documentation in July, has been on a buying streak in the past few years, with the brand developer buying up an array of fashion and apparel companies, ranging from Juicy Couture and Judith Leiber to Jones New York, Volcom, and Aeropostale.

Jul. 28, 2021 – Aeffe Takes Full Control of Moschino 

Italian fashion and luxury goods group Aeffe S.p.A. acquired the remaining 30 percent of Moschino in an M&A deal that will see it pay 66.6 million euros ($78.51 million), and bring its holding of the company to 100 percent and the valuation of the Jeremy Scott-designed brand to $261.7 million. Aeffe also owns Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini and Pollini.

In a statement, Aeffe Executive Chairman Massimo Ferretti said, “The operation we have just concluded has long been considered an important step in our medium-long term growth strategy. With the full control over MOSCHINO brand, we are now in the best conditions to manage all activities related to the brand’s value chain, from product to quality and with positive effects on image, distribution and communication.”

Jul. 20, 2021 – LVMH Takes Majority Stake in Off-White

LVMH announced on Tuesday that it is taking a majority stake in Off-White, the upscale fashion/streetwear brand that Virgil Abloh launched in 2013 via a new M&A deal. In a statement, LVMH revealed that in addition to taking a 60 percent stake in Off-White, it has entered into a new “arrangement” with Abloh to “jointly pursue new projects across luxury categories.” 

Jul. 18, 2021 – L Catterton Takes Majority Stake in Etro

Italian fashion brand Etro announced on July 18 that it entered into a binding M&A agreement to partner with L Catterton. Under the terms of the agreement, LVMH-affiliated L Catterton Europe will acquire a majority stake in Etro, while the Etro family will retain a significant minority. Etro Founder Gerolamo Etro will be appointed as Chairman of the company.

Jul. 12, 2021 – LVMH Takes Minority Stake in Phoebe Philo

Phoebe Philo announced that she is launching her own label after spending three and a half years out of the spotlight following her 10-year tenure with Celine, and revealed that LVMH has taken a minority stake in her soon-to-launch label. The size of LVMH’s minority position and the terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Jul. 11, 2021 – Nordstrom Takes Stake in Four ASOS Brands

Nordstrom announced that it has acquired a minority stake in four apparel brands owned by British fashion group ASOS. Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and the activewear label HIIT, which ASOS acquired from Arcadia Group for £295 million ($407.21 million) in February 2021, will enable the U.S. department store chain to target millennial and Gen-Z consumers. Financial terms of the M&A deal have not been disclosed.

Jul. 8, 2021 – Kering Acquires LINDBERG

Kering is bolstering its eyewear division by way of a deal in which Kering Eyewear will acquire 100 percent of the share capital of LINDBERG. The acquisition is “an important milestone in the successful expansion of Kering Eyewear and perfectly fits with its development strategy,” according to Kering, which launched its eyewear division in 2014, a venture that it says consists of “an innovative business model that has enabled [it] to reach a critical size in the market with close to €600 million wholesale external revenues” as of FY2019.

Jul. 7, 2021 – Glossier Raises $80 Million in Latest Round

Glossier announced that it has raised $80 million in Series E funding. The round, which was led by Lone Pine Capital with participation from existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Index Ventures, IVP, Sequoia Capital, and Thrive Capital, values the millennial-focused beauty company at $1.8 billion.

Jun. 30, 2021 – Richemont Acquires Delvaux

Cartier owner Richemont announced on Wednesday that it has acquired a 100 percent stake in Belgian luxury leather goods brand Delvaux in “a private transaction.” Founded in 1829, Richemont says that Delvaux is the oldest luxury leather goods Maison in the world. The Swiss conglomerate revealed that the transaction has “no material financial impact on [its] consolidated net assets or operating result for the year ending March 31, 2022,” and that Delvaux’s revenues will be reported within its “Other” business area.

The M&A deal appears to be a sign that Richemont is looking to bolster its softer luxury (and maybe even fashion) offerings, having built its name in the hard luxury (i.e., jewelry and watches) segment of the market.

Jun. 24, 2021 – GOAT Nabs $3.7 Billion Valuation with New Round

Online sneaker and apparel marketplace GOAT Group has raised $195 million in a new funding round, which has “more than doubled its valuation to $3.7 billion,” per Reuters. The Los Angeles-based company, which was founded in 2015, boasts some 30 million customers across 170 countries, and “posted gross merchandise value, which represents the total volume of goods sold, of $2 billion over the past year as sales of sneakers and apparel surged.”

The buzzy platform made headlines early this year when it announced that it had welcomed a “strategic investment” from Groupe Artemis – the controlling shareholder of Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and Bottega Veneta’s parent company Kering – as it “continues its expansion in fashion apparel and new categories.” (It also garnered attention in connection with a settlement in the trademark lawsuit filed against it by London-based brand Goat Fashion.)

Jun. 24, 2021 – Kering Takes Stake in Luxury Rental Co. Cocoon

Kering has taken an undisclosed stake in a luxury rental company. In a statement on Thursday, Kering announced that it has invested in Cocoon, a London-based startup that specializes in facilitating rentals for luxury handbags – including offerings from upwards of 30 brands, such as Kering-owned Gucci, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta – with the investment coming as part of a larger $3.5 million round that also included participation from resale platform Depop’s founder Simon Beckerman, among others. Kering’s chief client and digital officer Gregory Boutte said the deal is part of a larger strategy by the conglomerate to invest in innovative young companies. 

Jun. 22, 2021 – Prada, Zegna Take Stakes in Cashmere Supplier

Prada has partnered with fellow Italian fashion company Ermenegildo Zegna Group to acquire a controlling stake in Italian cashmere producer Filati Biagioli Modesto in furtherance of a quest to “secure a domestic supply chain and luxury-goods manufacturing expertise.” The two big-name fashion entities will each take a 40 percent stake in the Montale-based supplier, which is known for its Italian cashmere and “noble yarns,” while the Biagioli family will hold on to 15 percent of the company, and newly-appointed CEO Renato Cotto – who recently served as a director at LVMH’s Loro Piana – will assume a 5 percent holding. 

Jun. 18, 2021 – LVMH Takes Full Control of Pucci

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired the outstanding 33 percent stake in Emilio Pucci just over two decades after it paid an undisclosed sum for a 67 percent ownership stake in the Italian fashion house in 2000. In a statement on Friday, as first reported by WWD, Toni Belloni, LVMH’s group managing director thanked the Pucci family, and in particular, Laudomia Pucci, the daughter of founder Emilio Pucci, who has served as the Deputy Chairman and Image Director of the brand, “for their friendship and collaboration over the years.” In conjunction with the deal, Ms. Pucci will step down from her current role and “dedicate herself to the archives and promoting the heritage of her late father.”

Jun. 10, 2021 – Fosun Fashion Group Nabs Sergio Rossi in M&A Deal

In a statement on June 10, Fosun Fashion Group revealed that it has signed a M&A agreement to acquire 100 percent of Sergio Rossi S.p.A from from Absolute Luxury Holding S.r.l., an independently-managed investment subsidiary of Investindustrial V L.P., for an undisclosed sum. The Shanghai-headquartered group stated that the acquisition will “further enrich FFG’s luxury brand portfolio, which currently includes Lanvin, Wolford, Caruso and St. John Knits, complementing the group’s core competency through luxury accessories.”

Jun. 8, 2021 – Sequoia Takes Stake in SSENSE

SSENSE announced that it has sold an undisclosed stake in the company to California-based venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in a M&A deal that values the fashion e-commerce retailer at 5 billion CAD ($4.13 billion). As for what the investment might entail, it appears that the high fashion-focused retailer has set its sights on expansion in China, as Angelica Cheung, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue China, who joined Sequoia Capital China as a venture partner in February, will join the SSENSE’s board in connection with the deal.

Apr. 22, 2021 – LVMH Boosts Stake in Tod’s

Tod’s revealed that LVMH will boost its exist stake in Tod’s to 10 percent by way of a new 6.8 percent increase. “A source close to the matter said the French giant does not expect to raise its stake further for now,” Reuters reported, noting that Tod’s founder and chairman Diego Della Valle has been a member of LVMH’s board of directors since 2002. While Della Valle has repeatedly denied longstanding chatter about a takeover, he stated on Thursday that “this may represent an excellent reason to consider further opportunities to be taken in the future ahead,” referring to LVMH’s stake increase.

Mar. 25, 2021 – Made in Italy Fund acquires Dondup

Made in Italy Fund has acquired Milan-based fashion brand Dondup from fellow private equity firm L Catterton for an undisclosed sum. “The fund said it aims at creating a fashion conglomerate with Dondup and other fashion brands it owns – 120%Lino, known for its linen clothes, and jewellery and accessories maker Rosantica – and expanding their foothold in Europe and the United States, Reuters reported. The firm also maintains a majority stake in 6-year old Italian streetwear label GCDS, which it acquired in November 2020.

Mar. 8, 2021 – Ferrari owner Exor takes 24% stake in Louboutin

Exor Group – the $30 billion Netherlands-incorporated investment group run by the Italian Agnelli family and the largest shareholder in Italian automaker Ferrari – announced that it will take a 24 percent stake in the independently-owned Louboutin in exchange for 541 million euros ($640 million), a deal that values the 30-year old Paris-based footwear brand at $2.3 billion euros ($2.73 billion) and sets it up for expansion, particularly in China.

Mar. 5, 2021 – Margiela-owner OTB acquires Jil Sander

Japanese apparel group Onward Holdings announced that it will sell fashion brand Jil Sander to Renzo Rosso’s luxury group, OTB, the parent of Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Amiri, and Viktor & Rolf. The financial figures associated with the M&A deal remain undisclosed.

Mar. 1, 2021 – Kering leads $216 million Vesitaire round

Kering and American investment firm Tiger Global Management are leading a new funding round that sees secondhand marketplace Vestiaire Collective bring in $216 million in new funding, along with existing investors, including its CEO Max Bittner, Vogue’s parent company Condé Nast, and the Eurazeo Group, among others. The deal gives Paris-based Vestiaire “unicorn status” – i.e., puts a $1 billion-plus value on the privately-held company – and “ideally positions it for its next cycle of accelerated growth.” 

FY 2020


Dec. 9, 2020 – Exor Group acquires Shang Xia

Ferrari owner Exor Group announced that it will invest “around €80 million [$96.9 million] in Chinese brand Shang Xia via a reserved capital increase that will result in it becoming the company’s majority shareholder.” Exor noted that Hermès – which “has accompanied Shang Xia successfully throughout the initial phase of its development – will remain as an important shareholder alongside Exor and [founder] Jiang Qiong Er.”

Dec. 7, 2020 – Moncler acquires Stone Island

Moncler announced that it will acquire Italian fashion label Stone Island for $1.4 billion. The Milan-headquartered luxury outerwear company will “purchase 70 percent of Stone Island’s parent company SPW from Chief Executive Officer Carlo Rivetti and other members of his family, [and] then buy the remaining 30 percent from Singapore’s state investor Temasek” in furtherance of a two-step transaction. 

Nov. 9, 2020 – VF Corp. acquires Supreme for $2.1 billion

Three years after Supreme sold off a reported 50 percent stake to private equity giant Carlyle Group, VF Corp revealed that it will pay $2.1 billion to buy popular streetwear brand. The deal – which was formally completed on December 28, 2020 – saw VF Corp. take full ownership of Supreme, with current Supreme investors Carlyle Group and New York-based private equity firm Goode Partners agreeing to sell their stakes in the New York-based brand. 

Nov. 5, 2020 – Alibaba, Richemont invest $1.1 billion in Farfetch

Alibaba Group Holding and Richemont announced that they will invest $1.1 billion in online luxury fashion retailer Farfetch and its new marketplace in China. At the same time, Artemis – an investment vehicle tied to Gucci owner Kering – simultaneously announced that it would increase its stake in Farfetch with a $50 million injection of cash in exchange for Farfetch’s Class A ordinary shares. 

Oct. 29, 2020 – LVMH and Tiffany & Co. agree to $15.8 billion M&A

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. managed to salvage their meger deal, with the French luxury goods conglomerate agreeing to pay a few dollars less per share to acquire the New York-based jewelry company. In a statement, the parties confirmed that LVMH will pay $131.5 per Tiffany share, down from the $135/share price tag they initially agreed to in November 2019 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

*This article was initially published on March 1, 2021, and has been updated accordingly.

Secondary fashion sales are booming, with the global market for pre-owned apparel generating a whopping $40 billion per year, according to Boston Consulting Group, and growing at a rate of 15 percent per annum, as consumers increasingly tap into the online consignment segment, new market entrants rush to meet burgeoning demand, and existing players look to differentiate themselves and their value propositions. Against this background, funding keeps pouring into the secondary market – whether it be funneled into new resale platforms or already-established ones that are looking to expand their operations, including in an international capacity – and all the while, given the increasingly crowded nature of the market, consolidation is starting to come into effect, with existing entities joining forces to grab a bigger share of the market. 

With so much activity underway on the resale and rental space, we have put together a (running) timeline of investments and M&A events to provide a broad overview of which players are raising funds, which are merging together, and what the trajectory of this segment of the market – which only appears to be gaining in steam – looks like more generally … 

October 2022 – Naver Corp. to Acquire Poshmark in $1.2 Billion Deal

Naver Corp will acquire resale platform Poshmark for $1.2 billion in a deal that Naver says values Poshmark at about $1.6 billion, including about $580 million of cash reserves. The Seongnam-based internet conglomerate, which owns South Korean’s top search engine, will pay $17.90 in cash for all of Poshmark’s issued and outstanding shares, a sum that is strikingly less than the $42 per share that Redwood City, California-headquartered Poshmark priced its January 2021 IPO. Naver says that it expects the deal – which will “expand and diversify [its] leading e-commerce platform, strengthen its community with a global social network of younger users, and position it to capitalize on the global online fashion re-commerce and sustainable economy opportunity” – to close by Q1 of 2023.

In a statement on Tuesday, Naver CEO Choi Soo-Yeon said, “The combination will create the strongest platform for powering communities and re-fashioning commerce. Poshmark is the definitive brand for fashion in the United States that provides a social network for buying and selling apparel. Naver’s leading technology in search, AI recommendation and e-commerce tools will help power the next phase of Poshmark’s global growth.”

September 2022 – Impossible Kicks Raises $3 Million in Series A 

Sneaker and streetwear reseller Impossible Kicks (“IK”) announced the close of a $3 million Series-A equity raise on September 20, bringing its total funding raised to $7 million since its founding in February 2021. In a statement, IK expects $55 million-plus in sales in 2022, up from $15 million in sales in 2021. The Irvine, California-based company will use the cash to facilitate its “continued expansion plan across the United States, which includes two new locations prior to the end of the year and nine additional storefronts in 2023.” (As of Sept. 2022, the brand supports 15 storefronts across nine states – including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas.)

“With an unrivaled brick and mortar presence,” IK says it “will also augment its e-commerce and digital efforts, including the development of proprietary products.”

August 2022 – Reflaunt Raises $11 Million in Series A

Reflaunt closed its Series A round with a total of $11 million in funding, the the London and Singapore-based resale-as-a-service company announced on August 24. The close comes a couple of weeks after the circular fashion service provider first revealed that it had welcomed $5.2 million in funding from the likes of Bombyx Capital Partners, Shanghai-based Ventech China, and TLF Ventures. Global Blue, a Swiss-based tourism shopping tax refund company, also participated in the Series A round, along with early investors, including Swarovski’s creative director Giovanna Battaglia and American retail conglomerate Madaluxe Group.

Reflaunt says it will use the new cash to expand its services and secure new partnerships with luxury brands and retailers. “We have integrated the resale experience in the brand’s ecosystem, which allows us to record the product’s digital ID at the moment of check-out and foster a seamless resell-in-a-click experience when the customer is ready to give the product a second life,” Reflaunt co-foudner and CEO Stephanie Crespin said in a statement.

August 2022 – Trenbe Raises $25.2 Million in Series D

South Korea-based luxury goods marketplace Trenbe announced on August 22 that it raised 35 billion won ($25.2 million) in a Series D funding round, which included investors, such as IMM Investment and Atinum Investment. Gangnam-headquartered Trenbe says that it will use the funds to “diversify its business and improve customer experience.” The round follows from the company’s July 2020 Series B, in which it raised 11 billion won.

August 2022 – Sneaker Trading Co. Tradeblock Raises $8.9 Million in Seed II Round

Houston-based Tradeblock has raised more than $8.9 million in seed funding from investors Courtside VC, Trinity Ventures and Concrete Rose Capital, the company announced August 25. The company is planning a rolling close to its current Seed II round and expects to bring in an additional $4.5 million from investors by close. Launched in 2020, Tradeblock consists of a barter-based trading platform for shoe collectors. With the new funding, the company plans to invest in expanding its authentication and logistics efforts, as well as its data science capabilities to better enhance the platform’s virtual bartering experience.

July 2022 – Resale Platform Galaxy Raises $7 Million in Funding

Gen-Z-focused pre-owned fashion platform Galaxy has raised $7 million in new funding from investors that include Snap Inc’s Yellow Accelerator, Floodgate, RGH Capital, Turner Novack’s Banana Capital, and Homebrew. Launched in August 2021, the company combines live-shopping and fashion resale in order to “build entertaining and engaging experiences that generate explicit data” – via machine learning – “where users tell us what they like by interacting with our product,” CEO Danny Quick stated in announcing the round. The company says that it will use the newly-raised cash to implement “new, user-friendly features and increased opportunities for creators to feel empowered and earn a living on their own terms, in their own time.”

May 2022 – Carousell to Buy Up Refash

Singapore-based online classifieds giant Carousell has signed off on a deal to acquire secondhand retailer Refash for an undisclosed sum, as the resale market continues to grow in Asia. Carousell said in a statement that 7-year-old Refash, which touts itself as an “online thrift store,” will continue to operate its own brand, as distinct from the Carousell entity, and that the acquisition is expected to “drive a synergistic partnership between the two marketplaces.”

April 2022 – Sneaker Marketplace SoldOut Raises $33 Million

Korean sneaker marketplace SoldOut raised $33 million in a funding round led led by Korea online retail titan Musina and FinTech Dunamu. The nearly 2-year-old resale company will use the funds to fuel its expand into new product categories and build out its customer experience, including by upgrading its platform and opening a second inspection center in Seoul.

March 2022 – Vestiaire Acquires Tradesy

French resale company Vestiaire Collective announced its acquisition of Tradesy, “a U.S. pioneer in the fashion resale industry,” on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies said in a statement that by joining forces, they will “significantly increase the size and reach of their peer-to-peer marketplaces, to the direct benefit of their sellers and buyers. The combined company will boast a membership community of 23 million, a catalog of 5 million items and a Gross Merchandise Value exceeding $1 billion. Customers of both Vestiaire Collective and Tradesy will significantly benefit from the companies’ alliance.”

A screenshot from Tradesy's website

*As of August 2022, Vestaire announced that it would fold Tradesy into its own brand in furtherance of a larger effort to bolster its presence in the U.S. market.

FY 2021


December 2021 – Rebag Raises $35 Million in Series E

Rebag has raised $35 million in funding a Series E round, bringing the 6-year-old resale company’s total funding to $103 million. “Following a strong year driven by technological advances and category expansion,” Rebag says that the round – which was led by private equity firm Novator with participation from existing investors, such as General Catalyst – “positions [it] for its next cycle of innovation and accelerated growth,” and that the investment funds will be used to further build upon Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index for Resale, its proprietary software aimed at bringing transparency to the luxury resale industry. The company says it will also use the round to scale its tech-enabled brick-and-mortar business. 

December 2021 – Farfetch Acquires LUXCLUSIF

Fashion e-commerce platform Farfetch announced on December 9 that it has acquired resale platform LUXCLUSIF, including the company’s technology platform, for an undisclosed sum. This deal will allow FARFETCH to “significantly accelerate its resale capabilities through the development of key technology and service features such as automated pricing, and faster geographic and category expansion of its resale service, FARFETCH Second Life,” the London-based company stated.

Founded in 2013, LUXCLUSIF is a B2B service provider with “a successful turnkey solution enabling the acquisition, authentication and sale of second hand luxury goods to – and from – auctions, retailers, e-commerce platforms, and stores worldwide,” the companies said in a statement. “Together, FARFETCH and LUXCLUSIF can leverage these capabilities and positioning to become the global platform for pre-owned luxury for both customers and industry partners.”

November 2021 – eBay Acquires Sneaker Con’s Authentication Arm

eBay announced on November 29 that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Sneaker Con Digital under which it has acquired Sneaker Con’s authentication business, a leading sneaker authenticator with operations in the U.S., U.K, Canada, Australia and Germany. According to a statement from eBay, “The acquisition is an extension of the ongoing collaboration between [itself] and Sneaker Con, which has been critical to powering eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee. The service, which eBay launched in October 2020, offers full vetting and verification of select sneakers bought on the marketplace by a team of Sneaker Con’s industry experts.”

Additionally, the marketplace stated that its “Authenticity Guarantee has significantly changed the way people buy and sell sneakers on [its site], as evidenced by quarter over quarter category growth. In just over a year, more than 1.55 million sneakers have been authenticated globally on eBay.”

November 2021 – Marque Luxury Raises $20 Million

Marque Luxury has secured $20 million in funding through an investment by Provident Capital Partners, the Irvine, California-based reseller announced on November 19, saying that the round “follows a period of tremendous growth for MARQUE Luxury, which has opened numerous re-commerce hubs in the United States and several hubs in Asia during the last year and has aggressive plans for future expansion.” The 4-year old company says it will use the new cash to “drive continued business expansion on an operational scale focused mainly in North America,” to “support its omnichannel strategy and allows [it] to generate business activity in the global market on a business-to-business and business-to-business-to-consumer basis.”

November 2021 – StockX Acquires Scout

In its first acquisition, StockX has bought up Scout, a leading developer of power seller tools that is already serving more than 10,000 sneaker resellers around the world. StockX says that the new technology will enable it to “ramp up inventory” – which is, of course, the lifeblood of resale platforms and the primary driver of consumer demand – thanks to Scout’s “best-in-class automation, inventory management, tracking and integration with marketplaces.” At the same time, StockX states that the move will help its marketplace sellers to “accelerate their businesses,” presumably a bid to attract sellers in an increasingly competitive resale market, where no shortage of other resale players have taken to focusing on pre-owned sneakers and streetwear.

In addition to onboarding Scout’s product, StockX confirmed that it will bring on the company’s team three co-founders and seven employees, who “bring their deep experience as sneaker resellers and developers of inventory,” as aims to scale seller business operations.

Detroit-based StockX, which revealed that it surpassed 6.5 million lifetime buyers and 1 million lifetime sellers in the first half of 2021, has been building out its initially sneaker-focused offerings since its founding in 2016 and expanding internationally. In the wake of its latest funding round, a Series E-1 round that closed in April 2021, the company boasts a valuation of $3.8 billion valuation.

October 2021 – Poshmark Acquires Suede One

In its first-ever buy-side move, Poshmark announced on October 13 that it has acquired Suede One, an authentication platform that “combines machine learning, computer vision and expert human review to virtually authenticate sneakers,” with Suede One’s team joining Poshmark effective immediately. According to Poshmark, the acquisition “will scale [its] authentication capabilities and accelerate momentum in high-growth secondhand categories, especially sneakers and luxury,” and reflects the secondhand marketplace’s focus on “strategic investments that drive continued platform innovation, accelerate growth in high-growth resale categories and enhance the user experience to attract and retain both buyers and sellers.”

Founded in 2020, Suede One “has built impressive capabilities in virtual authentication that will allow us to deliver tangible benefits to our community, scale our authentication services in a meaningful way, and accelerate our momentum in sneakers as well as luxury goods, two of the fastest-growing categories in the resale space,” according to Poshmark founder and CEO Manish Chandra.

In a release on Wednesday, Poshmark detailed Suede One’s process, revealing that “for popular sneakers such as Jordan 1s and Yeezy 350s, Suede One can automatically authenticate the majority of submissions with greater than 99 percent accuracy, based on internal testing. For other sneaker types, human experts review the submission with help from the company’s proprietary authenticator tool.”

September 2021 – Vestiaire Raises $209 Million in Venture Round

French resale company Vestiaire has raised 178 million euros ($209 million) in a September 22 venture round which included participation from two new investors, SoftBank Group Corp and Generation Investment Management, bringing its valuation to $1.7 billion dollars. To date, Vestiaire has raised $663.3 million, per CrunchBase.

September 2021 – Tradesy Raises $67 Million in Series D Round

Resale platform Tradesy has raised $67 million in a September 16 Series D round led by led by Foris Ventures, which is Kleiner Perkins head John Doerr’s family office. To date, the company has raised $200.7 million over a series of eight rounds, according to CrunchBase. 

September 2021 – Grailed Closes $60 Million Series B Round

Men’s fashion and streetwear-centric marketplace Grailed announced the closing of a $60 million Series B funding round on September 16, which was led by fellow resale player GOAT Group and with participation from Groupe Artémis, along with existing investors Thrive Capital and Index Ventures. 

August 2021 – Trove Raises $77.5 Million in Series D

Trove Recommerce, which partners with brands to create online platforms for them to sell used goods, raised $77.5 million in an August 25 Series D round, led by G2 Venture Partners. 

June 2021 – GOAT Raises $195 Million in Series F Funding Round

Online sneaker and apparel marketplace GOAT Group has raised $195 million in a new funding round, which has “more than doubled its valuation to $3.7 billion.” The round for the 6-year-old Los Angeles-based company, which boasts some 30 million customers across 170 countries, was led by Park West Asset Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Franklin Templeton, Adage Capital Management and Ulysses Management.

June 2021 – Etsy Acquires Depop for $1.62 Billion

In a quest to target Gen-Z consumers (i.e., those born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s), who are driving both social shopping and largescale pushes in sustainability, Etsy announced that it will acquire burgeoning British shopping app Depop for $1.62 billion. 

May 2021 – Treet Raises $2.8 Million in Seed Round

Reseller Treet – which powers brands to set up their own resale sites where buyers and sellers can list and find items – raised $2.8 million in a May 26 seed round with participation from Bling Capital, Matchstick Ventures, Techstars, BAM Ventures, BBG Ventures, Green Meadow, Interlace Ventures, V1.VC and Alante Capital.

May 2021 – Vinted Raises $303 Million in Series F Round

Vinted raised 250 million euros ($303 million) in a May 12 Series F round, the Vilnius, Lithuania-founded online resale platform announced. According to a release from Vinted, which got its start in 2008 and boasts some 45 million users, the company “operates in over 10 markets, and has become the largest online C2C marketplace in second-hand fashion across Europe,” and will use the funding from the latest EQT Growth-led round – one that values the resale upstart at $4.3 billion – to expand its operations in Europe and “new geographies,” ramp up its hiring, and improve user experience. 

April 2021 – StockX Raises $195 Million in Secondary Market Round

StockX announced the conclusion of a $195 million secondary tender offering on April 8, as well as an additional $60 million in Series E-1 primary shares, boosting the streetwear and sneaker platform’s December 2020 valuation of $2.8 billion by 35 percent, and bringing its total funding to $690 million.

March 2021 – Vestiaire Raises $216 Million in Series H

Kering and American investment firm Tiger Global Management led a March 1 Series H funding round that saw secondhand marketplace Vestiaire Collective bring in $216 million in funding, along with existing investors, including its CEO Max Bittner, Vogue’s parent company Condé Nast, and the Eurazeo Group, among others. The deal gives Paris-based Vestiaire “unicorn status” – i.e., puts a $1 billion-plus value on the privately-held company – and “ideally positions it for its next cycle of accelerated growth.” 

February 2021 – Reflaunt Raises $2.7 Million in Pre-Series A

Second-hand fashion platform Reflaunt raised $2.7 million dollars in a pre-Series A funding round from investors including former Jimmy Choo CEO Pierre Denis and Ganni founder and former CEO Nicolaj Reffstrup, among others, with an aim to “offer a variety of resale models to more leading global brands” and to allow consumers to resell pre-owned products “directly on the brands’ individual e-commerce platforms.” 

January 2021 – GOAT Welcomes “Strategic Investment” from Groupe Artemis

GOAT Group announced on January 19 that it would welcome a “strategic investment” from Groupe Artemis – the controlling shareholder of Kering – as it “continues its expansion in fashion apparel and new categories.” The undisclosed Artemis investment comes on the heels of a Series E round of $100 million announced in September 2020, which valued the company at $1.75 billion. 

Nike, Inc. reported revenue of $12.7 billion for the quarter ending August 31, 2022 (up 4 percent on a year-over-year basis), with President and CEO John Donahoe citing “the depth and breadth of NIKE’s global portfolio” as enabling the sportswear titan to deliver a “strong start” to 2023 fiscal year and helping it to “continue to manage through volatility.” Also on the up for Q1: NIKE Direct sales, which reached $5.1 billion, up 8 percent on a reported basis, and NIKE Brand Digital sales, which rose by 16 percent, led by 46 percent growth in EMEA. Sales momentum “even in this environment puts Nike head and shoulders above its peers,” Neev Capital managing director Rahul Sharma stated on Thursday

Geographically speaking, Nike revenue in North America rose 15 percent year-over-year to $5.5 billion, driven by a 17 percent increase in shoe sales. Sales in “Europe, Middle East & Africa” grew by 23 percent to $3.3 billion, again, helped along by an 18 percent rise in footwear sales. The tough market for Nike for the quarter was, of course, Greater China, where revenue fell by 16 percent compared to Q1 2021 to $1.65 billion, with apparel sales dropping 18 percent and footwear by 11 percent. 

While revenues were up in Q1, the Swoosh is not without issues for the quarter. Profit was dragged down by “elevated freight and logistics costs,” and high inventory levels. Nike revealed that inventory was up by 44 percent on a year-over-year to $9.7 billion as of the end of Q1, “driven by elevated in-transit inventories from ongoing supply chain volatility, partially offset by strong consumer demand during the quarter.” Taken together, the result was a drop in gross margins, which fell by 220 basis points to 44.3 percent; analysts were expecting 45.4 percent, according to Refinitiv’s IBES data. At the same time, net income fell to $1.47 billion – down from $1.87 billion for the same period last year.

Nike North America revenue chart

Looking ahead to Q2, Nike expects revenue will grow in “the low double digits,” while gross margin is expected to continue to drop – this time by about 350 to 400 basis points compared to Q2 2021. The company says it will focus on liquidating inventories in the second quarter, asserting that roughly 65 percent of its inventory backlog in North America is currently in transit.

The earnings call on Tuesday was dominated by analyst questions about inventory – no mention of RTFKT, Nike’s enduing Nikeland partnership with Roblox, non-fungible tokens, or virtual goods from Nike or analysts despite Nike’s continued emphasis on the virtual goods front. (Donahoe may have alluded to this, stating that Nike’s “growth is strengthened quarter by quarter,” thanks, in part, to “the fundamental shift in consumer behavior toward digital,” a comment that may extend beyond pure e-commerce activity to the metaverse, where Nike is actually driving some revenue.)

In terms of inventory, CFO Matt Friend stated that the issue is “predominantly apparel, [and] it is in North America predominantly.” Nike expects “total inventory to improve as we go from the first quarter,” and while North America is “obviously the geography where we’ve seen this most significant increase,” Friend said that the company “does expect to see it reduce.” As for what the Swoosh is doing to address excess inventory, Friend claimed that “because we have a portion of that inventory being seasonally out of relevance, we’ve decided to take that inventory and more aggressively liquidate it” – by way of in-house markdowns, as well as offloading it to third-party discount retailers – “so that we can put the newest and best inventory in front of the consumer in the right locations.” 

As for the Chinese market, Donahoe is “enthusiastic,” saying that “Chinese consumers are emerging from these lockdowns with a real hunger for innovation, quality, and energized storytelling,” – and in particular, “hyper-localized innovation and storytelling.” 

Reflecting on the company’s results, Sharma asserted, “Despite hysteria over a European recession, consumer-facing companies – from Nike to Zara – are doing very well there,” noting that “tough times may be coming but U.S. margin implosion is a huge contrast as companies seem to have managed U.S. inventory spectacularly badly.” For Nike, this has meant a rise in the number of days in inventory (136 days now versus 95 pre-Covid), along with a 14 percent spike in inventory “just over past quarter, despite big U.S. markdowns,” he says, with more inventory issues expected to follow. 

Nike’s margin “will spike nicely once inventory is run down,” per Sharma, but that “will take time – we may not even be at peak inventory yet.” 

High fashion brands are sliding into the secondary market, with Balenciaga, Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Oscar de la Renta, and brands under the Kering umbrella among the companies looking to take some stake in the market for pre-owned products, one that is very much on the rise. Sales of pre-owned luxury goods “were up 65 percent last year relative to 2017, compared with a 12 percent rise in new luxury sales,” the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend, citing Bain & Co. data, which forecasts that “over the next five years,” sales within the luxury resale market “will increase annually at around 15 percent, double the expected rate of new sales.” 

While a number of very-big-names in luxury have been unapologetic about their unwillingness to actively participate in the resale market (Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès come to mind), the tide appears to be changing to some extent if the likes of Gucci and co. are any indication – and to some extent, for good reason. Getting into the burgeoning market for pre-owned goods stands to enable fashion and luxury goods brands to tap into the cash that consumers – including the coveted Gen-Z and millennial cohorts – are routinely spending in this segment of the market, prompted in many cases by the affordability that the resale market provides (as distinct from enduring price-hikes by brands) and the elements of sustainability at play.

At the same time, there may be an even more important driver behind high-end brands’ pushes to enter into this space: control. As TFL reported back in 2019, the foundation upon which luxury depends – a mix of exclusivity, high prices, meticulously-crafted marketing, valuable intellectual property, and careful governance of distribution – may be influx given the mainstreaming of resale, thereby, making control one of the critical elements for brands that are looking to maintain their positions in the upper echelon of the industry (and thus, command the necessary pricing power for their offerings). 

Chances are, if brands want to maintain some semblance of command over what happens to their often-trademark-emblazoned-goods after the initial sale of those goods (and if enduring lawsuits over authentication after-the-fact tell us anything, it seems that many of them do), taking a larger role in resale – either by way of in-house operations (à la Gucci) or partnerships (such as those between Vestiaire and Alexander McQueen, The RealReal and Burberry, and Reflaunt and Balenciaga) could prove useful. The potential for brands to be tempted to enter into the secondary market (or alternatively, trademark/false advertising litigation) may be furthered by the fact that their wares are being offered up – and advertised – in this capacity with or without their involvement or authorization. 

Also potentially luring brands into resale? Green credentials, which can be parlayed into Gen Z and millennial-centric goodwill. “We think initiatives in both resale and rental are important in raising the brand’s reputation with younger consumers,” Jefferies analysts Flavio Cereda and Kathyrn Parker stated in a note this summer, reflecting on Sandro and Maje-owner SMCP’s first-half results. They stated that secondary market-centric efforts by the likes of Sandro, as well as Gucci, Valentino, and Jean Paul Gaultier, among others, are “further evidence” that the high-end fashion/luxury market is looking to “address sustainability issues.” 

And finally, brands are likely looking to garner benefits from a post-sale consumer engagement and/or loyalty perspective by tapping into the secondary market (as opposed to opting out or taking a strong stance against it by way of litigation, for instance).

Luxury Hold-Outs

Despite many elements lining up in favor of companies engaging in resale activity, the matter is not so simple that luxury brands are rushing to put their stamp of approval on pre-owned products. It is difficult not to notice that many of the biggest names in the industry continue to distance themselves. This spring, Hermès CEO Axel Dumas, for example, explicitly shot down the prospect during an earnings call with analysts, saying that active participation by the brand in the resale market “would be to the detriment of our regular client who comes to the store.” 

Meanwhile, LVMH’s head of image and environment Antoine Arnault revealed this spring that the group “will stay away from that secondhand market” for the time being; the statement came after Mr. Arnault said in 2020 that LVMH was “looking at [the resale segment] carefully,” but also noting that it was “still a little early” to say whether the group would enter into the space. And last year, Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and president of Chanel SAS, explained the brand’s own aversion to resale, telling WWD that, among other things, “We want to retain control of our distribution.” 

The balancing of factors that brands must do when considering their role in resale market includes considerations of things like cannibalization, as well as the demanding and time-consuming nature of such activities if carried out in house, especially since this is a new market for most brands. 

One need not look further than the balance sheet of The RealReal to see just how difficult – and expensive – it is to successfully build, operate, and scale a luxury resale company. “The business has been a stinker for years,” Martin Peers wrote for The Information in June. “Its losses have mounted as its revenue has grown—we think red ink is supposed to dry up as revenue expands.” In addition to being a costly and consuming endeavor, complete with overhead for platform infrastructure, authentication efforts, etc., and no easy path to profitability, brands may be further put off by the fact that they will likely never maintain complete control over the increasingly robust – and crowded – resale channel. (In other words, the reality of what resale distribution would look like as a whole is a far cry from their retail operations; after all, most brands in the upper-end of the spectrum either consist of direct-to-consumers businesses or in the case of a number of Kering brands, for instance, are in the process of walking way back on their wholesale efforts in order to exclusively maintain self-owned and operated retail stores.)

Still yet, there is the unignorable issue of competition, namely, between a company’s new offerings and any pre-owned ones. To date, “the fear” among fashion’s well-established houses “is that we are cannibalizing their business,” Julie Wainwright, the founder and former CEO of The RealReal, has said. And opinions on this front are mixed. McKinsey analysts, for instance, stated back in 2021 that if “done prudently, brand entry [in the resale market] should not erode margins, and would result in only limited cannibalization.” Achim Berg, McKinsey’s leader of McKinsey’s apparel, fashion, and luxury group, has, nonetheless, referred to the potential for cannibalization as “the elephant in the room” for luxury. 

More recently, Cereda and Parker stated this spring that when it comes to resale, brands are cognizant of and “keen to limit any cannibalization of primary products.”

For the biggest brands, the potential drawbacks and the risks may be too great to allow for an embrace of resale at this time (or ever). On the other hand, the reluctance of some of the biggest names may be the result of their well-documented hesitation to divert from their core business and/or their long-standing understanding of how luxury should operate (think: their unwillingness to operate fully in an e-commerce capacity). Chances are, it very well may be a mix of both. 

Macy’s is tapping Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics as part of a potentially long-running deal aimed at bringing the buzzy cosmetics brand into even more brick-and-mortar stores. In an announcement on Tuesday, the New York-headquartered retailer revealed that it will roll out “a limited-edition Holiday Collection” with Kylie Cosmetics beginning on October 1, followed by “additional core products launching this winter and the full collection coming to stores and online in early Spring 2023.” Reflecting on the tie-up with the “beauty powerhouse” that is Kylie Cosmetics, Macy’s VP of Beauty Merchandising Nicolette Bosco said it comes as Macy’s “expand[s] our ever-growing portfolio of beauty lines” in furtherance of an aim to “connect our customers to brands that celebrate their own personal style.” 

The news of the parties’ venture – which will help Macy’s to get consumers into its stores and on to its e-commerce site – comes as retailers are feeling notable pressure ahead of the important 2022 holiday season, during which time U.S. retail sales (excluding automotive) are expected to increase 7.1 percent year-over-year, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse annual holiday forecast. Despite such projected increases, this year, companies will be forced to grapple with the impact of inflation, which is slated to muddy the waters, as consumers “search for deals [and/or] make trade-offs that allow for extra room in their gift-giving budgets,” Michelle Meyer, U.S. Chief Economist at the Mastercard Economics Institute, says. 

The Macy’s, Kylie deal puts into practice many of the key themes that are expected to dominate retailers’ practices during the 2022 holiday season, from extended holiday shopping timelines to the rise of new collaborations aimed at getting consumers to shop in-store. “With holiday shopping slated to begin early again this year,” Mastercard expects “some of the season’s retail growth to be pulled forward in October as consumers hunt for early deals.” Key promotional days, such as Black Friday weekend are also likely to make “a strong return along with Christmas Eve, which falls on a Saturday, slated to be among the biggest days for retailers and last-minute shoppers,” the company states. 

At the same time, brands and retailers, alike, are expected to roll out in-store experiences to draw shoppers into stores. “From the return of holiday doorbusters to new brick-and-mortar collaborations,” companies are angling to drive shopping in-store, where consumers tend to spend larger sums per transaction and where the rate of returns is significantly low. Against this background, Mastercard’s forecast sees in-store retail sales rising by 7.9 percent year-over-year and up 10.4 percent from pre-pandemic 2019 levels. “While e-commerce has seen marked growth in recent years,” its data shows that “in-store spending made up more than 4/5 of retail sales from January through August 2022.” 

Looking beyond trends that are not as easily discernible in the Kylie and Macy’s partnership, Mastercard estimates that apparel sales, for instance, are likely to increase this holiday season, with consumers adding “revamped wardrobes to their wish lists as social events and platforms” have resumed post-pandemic. Apparel sales are estimated to rise by 4.6 percent year-over-year and 25.3 percent compared to 25.3 percent from 2019. Meanwhile, luxury goods are expected to be “hot holiday gift sectors,” with sales increasing 4.4 percent year-over-year and 29.6 percent from 2019. 

And still yet, bargain hunting is expected to be in full force this holiday season – and leading up to the season, as retailers plan to implement “steep markdowns to clear shelves ahead of the holiday season,” according to the Financial Times. “I hesitate to call it a bloodbath,” Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne asserted during the group’s Q2 earnings call last month. Nonetheless, “It’s going to be ugly in terms of the amount of discounting and markdowns,” he said, noting, “We think there’s too much inventory across the board.” 

“From deals and discounts to price monitoring and price matching, consumers are looking to stretch their dollars and get the most bang for their buck,” Mastercard contends. “E-commerce is anticipated to increase despite significant growth last year, up 4.2 percent year-over-year and 69.2 percent from 2019,” in a nod to consumers’ concern over price. After all, Mastercard states that “the channel remains a convenient way for consumers to check prices in real time.”