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Richemont is seeking to sell high-end jewellery and watches through its luxury online retail platform. Source: Cartier
Richemont is seeking to sell high-end jewellery and watches through its luxury online retail platform. Source: Cartier

Jewellers invited to build online retail platform

A luxury goods giant that owns a number of high-end watch and jewellery brands has reportedly asked its competitors to help build an online retail platform that would rival the likes of Amazon.

Richemont chairman Johann Rupert was said to have revealed details of the invitation to LVMH and Kering at the FT Business of Luxury Summit, held in Monte Carlo, Monaco earlier this month.

According to various reports, Rupert had spoken to the heads of the two companies about investing in the Yoox Net-A-Porter internet retail business, and committing to selling their goods through the online platform.

It’s potentially an interesting concept given that LVMH and Kering own a number of competing, high-profile brands, including De Beers Jewellers, Hublot and Tag Heuer (LVMH) and Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux and Jeanrichard (Kering).

Johann Rupert, Richemont chairman
Johann Rupert, Richemont chairman

“I was speaking to [LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard] Arnault, I was speaking to Kering,” Rupert was quoted as saying. “We need a platform that is big enough for the luxury goods industry.

“I want to create a platform that is open to everyone … it is up to them [LVMH and Kering] now. I think it [online retail] is a too big a game for any company to dominate.”

Richemont and Kering declined Jeweller’s invitation to provide further comment, and LVMH had not responded by the time of publication.

Increasing competition?
Richemont, which holds a controlling interest in the Net-A-Porter Group, entered into an agreement in March this year to merge the London-based online fashion retailer with Italian-based online fashion retailer Yoox Group.

At the time, Rupert said, “Established business models are being increasingly disrupted by the technological giants. It is with this in mind that we believe it is important to increase leadership and size to protect the uniqueness of the luxury industry.

“The merger of the two leaders [Net-A-Porter and Yoox] will further enhance an independent, neutral platform for a sophisticated clientele looking for luxury brands.”

As previously reported by Jeweller, online retailers such as Amazon appear to be placing increased focus on the luxury sector, while also expanding jewellery and watch offerings. This could potentially pose challenges for the individual e-commerce platforms of jewellery and watch brands.

Richemont is the parent company for a number of watch and jewellery brands including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, IWC Schaffhausen and Piaget.

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Monday, 23 July, 2018 12:04am
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