Net-a-Porter founder commits to further innovation

The future of fashion lies in the collaboration between retailers and brands, and collaboration between and among consumers, according to Natalie Massenet, founder of luxury fashion e-tailer Net-a-Porter.

In a statement filed today by Companies House today, which highlighted a year of growth for the retailer as well as marking the business's 15-year anniversary, Massenet made the commitment to "remain one step ahead of the game and continue to be the leading destination for fashion content and commerce".

Her statement came as the retailer announced encouraging profit and sales growth for the year to 31 March 2015, with EBITDA up £37.8 million to £54.2 million and revenue jumping 22.8% to a record level of £654 million.

Massenet said the group she formed in 2000 has "radically transformed the luxury marketplace" by combining fashion, technology, eCommerce and content "in a unique way".

"The group's pioneering innovation has driven the way consumers interact with luxury, as well as the luxury brands' approach to eCommerce," she commented.

"It has been an incredible journey, beginning with a concept and turning that initial idea into the world’s premier online fashion destination. In today's world where technological innovation is rapidly changing consumer habits and lifestyles, success in business will no longer be driven solely by the forces of competition but by the power of collaboration; collaboration between retailers and brands, and collaboration between and among consumers."

Other points of note about the business that were highlighted in today's statement included how Net-a-Porter has now grown monthly unique visitor numbers to 10.7 million, while active customers have swelled 27% to 887,000, leading to an increase in the number of customer orders to 2.6 million.

Some 45% of revenue in 2014/15 came from Europe, with the US (31%) and Asia/rest of the world (24%) also contributing significantly to top-line growth.

Over the last 12 months Richemont-owned Net-a-Porter has invested £13.8 million in IT improvements to its three websites,, and, with particular focus on their mobile and tablet offering. Meanwhile, the business also recently announced the launch of The Net Set, which is being marketed as a shoppable social media community and features image recognition technology that recommends product ranges based on images you upload to the site.

The major news from Net-a-Porter in recent months was the merger with Italian luxury marketplace Yoox, which the two companies have embarked upon to "protect the uniqueness of the luxury industry", according to Richemont chairman Johann Rupert. The deal came after rumours had circulated about Amazon's interest in acquiring Net-a-Porter to help develop an under-represented area of its business, as well as the emergence of a plethora of smaller luxury retail players which threatens to fragment the market.

Massenet will serve as executive chairman of the combined business when, as expected, the merger is finalised later this year. Together, the company will become the world's largest online luxury goods business, with 2014 revenues of the two companies estimated to total £1.3 billion.