Online flash sale site, SecretSales, has been sold to Excalibur Group, owner of discount subscription websites Wowcher and LivingSocial.

The business will continue to be run by the two co-founders, Nish and Sach Kukadia.

SecretSales was the first flash sale website to enter the UK market. Nish Kukadia set up the business with his brother, Sach, in the mid-2000s, using the pair’s strong family routes in retail.

The business was bootstrapped and started with a £100,000 bank loan underpinned by family property. They used the money to secure some inventory from Italian handbag wholesalers, including the coveted Chloe Paddington bag which they offered at a 60% discount.

"A little bit of PR got us a tiny column and that tiny column got us a huge wave of traffic because Chloe was a strong launch brand," Nish Kukadia told Essential Retail last year, noting how SecretSales is now more than double the size of the second largest flash sales business in the UK. The recession helped SecretSales gain momentum as the site became viral and the press featured it as smart ways to save money. Sales have also continued to remain strong, with 30% year-on-year growth reported for its 2015 .

Shoppers generally tend to be affluent women aged 30-45, AB1 with a high disposable income. The e-tailer has over 4.6 million members.

SecretSales has invested heavily in mobile, and now 63% of its sales come from smart devices.

Nish Kukadia said the investment in mobile was needed because the nature of flash sales is speed: “It’s finite quantities and if you can’t access it when you need to, you’re going to miss out. Most flash sales play on the fear of missing out, so smartphone accessibility has always been paramount.”

Learn more about the SecretSales journey in this interview with co-founder, Nish Kukadia.