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Matchesfashion delivers double-digit growth under new ownership

The high-end fashion business sold a majority stake to Apax Partners.


Matchesfashion sells high-end clothes online (PA)

Matchesfashion sells high-end clothes online (PA)

Matchesfashion sells high-end clothes online (PA)

Matchesfashion delivered double-digit sales and earnings growth last year as it welcomed a new private equity owner.

Revenues soared 44% to £293 million for the year ended 31 January 2018, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation jumped 34%, rising from £19 million to £26 million.

The business, which sells high-end clothing online, continued to grow its appeal abroad, where it generates 82% of its online business.

The US is now Matchesfashion’s largest country by revenue, with sales growing by 54% year-on-year.

The e-commerce retailer also launched websites in France and Korea, and tripled the size of its Hong Kong office.

Just over half of Matchesfashions’ sales were made on mobile devices. Mobile sales are expected to rise significantly in the coming years.

Chief executive Ulric Jerome said customers were not shying away from making big-ticket purchases on smartphones. Matchesfashion’s largest-ever sale was made through its mobile app, when a customer bought 120 units for a total £115,000.

Mr Jerome has not ruled out the possibility of a stock market flotation, but says it is not on the cards at the moment.

The company welcomed in new owners last year when Apax Partners took a majority stake in the business for an undisclosed sum, and Mr Jerome says an initial public offering is “not a priority” under the new ownership.

“It is business as usual,” he said. “The transaction happened last year and we are a profitable business. That is not a given when you grow so fast.”

To grow sales, Matchesfashion is opening a new distribution centre this summer. The 500,000 square foot site has four times the capacity of its current distribution centre.

Alongside the distribution hub, the e-commerce business is opening a new retail space in Mayfair.

The five-floor townhouse will have two floors of retail space, two floors for Matchesfashion’s private shopping service, and one floor for talks and events.