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Condé Nast axes Style.com, inks deal with Farfetch

Style.com closes

Style.com closes, Conde Nast teams up with Farfetch

There’s been lots of speculation about whether Condé Nast’s style.com reboot was doing what it was meant to do by giving the publisher a big open door into luxury e-tail. And the answer seems to have finally come. It probably wasn’t.

How so? The company has thrown in the towel and struck a partnership with one luxury e-tailer that really is growing, Farfetch. As part of the partnership, Style.com will discontinue operations, and effective immediately it will redirect to Farfetch.com with Style.com’s Instagram account also dominated by a big Farfetch banner.

Condé Nast has sunk $100m into the operation but Farfetch will now be responsible for turning the publisher’s online and social media content into a channel to sell product. It will be the channel that forges the links that Style.com was supposed to forge between the relevant luxury brands and the 500 boutiques on its roster that sell them.

I am so proud and excited to share with you that Farfetch is partnering with Condé Nast. It's no secret that I have believed in the importance of combining content and commerce in order to elevate the digital shopping experience. And thanks to Farfetch's brilliant business model we don't have to create the content — we can link to it. Content educates, entertains, and inspires purchases which is crucial in the customer journey of discovery. I have long admired the depth, breath and sophistication of Condé Nast’s international reach and are excited for Farfetch to power it. For the consumer this will be a joy to move from inspiration to transaction at any time and any place. And for the brands and international boutiques that have always partnered with Condé Nast this will further enhance their presence in Conde Nast’s media. It will be thrilling to develop the next evolution of content and commerce with Anna Wintour and all the brilliant talented minds at Condé Nast. It's another example of the "collaborative economy" when businesses work together to offer the best possible customer experience and support the world's luxury fashion brands. #FarfetchForFashion Watch this space!! @josefarfetch proud to do this with you!!

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Farfetch’s USP, where it gives luxury stores, including many independents, a global platform, seems to be custom-made to achieve this.
Its CEO and founder José Neves said of the deal: ”This global partnership with Condé Nast will significantly augment the retail experience for our customers, and we see it as a natural step in Farfetch’s approach to commerce and our strategic vision to connect those who create fashion, curate fashion and develop fashion content.”
Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and Vogue editor, added: “I’ve always believed that what sets Condé Nast apart is our voice and our vision. Partnering with Farfetch only enhances that, and brings a new dimension to all that we offer the world.”

The news comes just a day after it was reported that London-based Farfetch could launch an IPO, potentially valued at $5bn, in the next 18 months.

The Condé Nast deal has not exactly come from out of nowhere. The US luxury media giant has been an investor in Farfetch since 2014 and this closer tie-up means its chairman and CEO Jonathan Newhouse will sit on Farfetch’s board.

Today he said: ”As an early investor in Farfetch, this partnership is the next step in our evolving business relationship. It further unites two leaders in their respective sectors, combining best-in-class content with the world’s leading online luxury shopping destination. This is an industry defining collaboration.”

Which does raise the question of why Condé Nast opted to relaunch Style.com as an e-tail site in the first place. 

Newhouse thanked the Style.com team, which is headed by Yasmin Sewell, but made no other comment about its future. Given Farfetch’s existing set-up, it’s unlikely that many Style.com staff will make it onto the Farfetch team.

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