Newly acquired Koodos to move upmarket


StockShifters.com parent company e-trader Group, a specialist in
the clearance and overstock market, has bought discount fashion
etailer Koodos for an undisclosed sum. Harvey Sinclair, CEO of
e-trader, told Catalogue e-business that he plans to
move Koodos away from the midmarket and “forge
relationships with more exclusive brands”. This makes sense
when you consider that e-trader’s financial director, Murray
Salmon, was formerly finance director and head of operations at
luxury fashion etailer Net-a-Porter.

Koodos chief executive Miriam Lahage will leave the company
following a handover period. At press time, chairman Robin Klein
was still a shareholder in Koodos and had not formally announced
whether he would step down or?remain with the business. Key
Koodos personnel will be integrated into the e-trader management
team, Sinclair says.

Sinclair is looking to transform Koodos into a members-only,
secret-sales website. “Sales clubs are the way to
go,” he says, citing the acquisition, just two days before
his purchase of Koodos was announced, of US merchant Retail
Convergence by ecommerce provider GSI Commerce. Retail
Convergence owns RueLaLa, a members-only ecommerce site offering
top brands at discount prices during two-day private sales. It
has more than 1.2 million members in the US, and in the second
quarter of this fiscal year alone, it generated revenues of $23
million (£13.9 million).

Another key player in the secret-sales space is Vente-Privee.
Founded in France in 2001, Vente-Privee is active in France,
Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. In the first half of 2009, it
recorded a turnover of £290 million. For the full year
Vente-Privee is projecting a turnover of £557 million before
tax.

The secret-sales format, Sinclair says, would provide Koodos with
an “unbelievable opportunity to capitalise on its database
and harness its brand’s reputation”.

The planned changes will not mean an end to Koodos’s partnerships
with the media. It will still provide the content and platform
for the fashion boutiques of the Daily Mail and
OK! magazine. Two more deals are in the pipeline,
Sinclair adds, and he hopes to be able to announce them before
the end of November.

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