What’s ahead for The Outnet when it combines buying with Yoox?


News emerged today that the Yoox and Outnet buying effort will be combined. But with both selling product from previous seasons to a similar set of customers and with the Italian Yoox.com easily dwarfing smaller Outnet.com, can it continue to exist in its current form?

Of course, there are differences between the two as well as similarities. While Yoox sells a lot of ultra luxury product, in volume terms, that’s outweighed by the middle and lower-priced product it also offers.

The Outnet by contrast is very much the upscale outlet sister of Net-a-Porter with its feet very firmly in the luxe camp. And that profile isn’t just about the product it sells. For instance it offers the very premium same-day delivery service you get from NaP. Goods hand-delivered in a lovely carrier bag (and returned at your convenience) feel so much better than goods delivered/collected by UPS in a cardboard box.

But whether those differences are enough for The Outnet’s long-term future is a big question.

Sales and synergies

For now though, Yoox is fully focused on integration. The combined group’s CEO Federico Marchetti says the process is going well and synergies will generate €25m a year more in savings than originally expected. How so? The company said its plan is to share global inventory and improve product sourcing to bring down costs and benefit the customer through faster, cheaper delivery. We’ll also see more cross-selling throughout the group’s operations.

Yoox-NaP is really powering ahead post-merger. Natalie Massanet may have gone but the company has Eva Chen (the high-profile former editor-in-chief of now-defunct Lucky magazine) and La Rinascente’s Vittorio Radice on board as independent directors.

It’s also got enviable sales and profits figures. At the same time as we heard about its synergy savings, the company said nine-month adjusted net income was up 50% to €32.4m while pro-forma sales rose 32% to €1.2bn. It had 2.3m active customers at the end of September with average order value up to €354 from €327 a year ago.

So, it looks like the company is firing on all cylinders as it gears up for the battle ahead. And with an enlarged Farfetch, a growing MyTheresa and the imminent launch of Style.com to face up to, what a Battle Royal it should be.

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