Farfetch is reportedly preparing for an initial public offering in New York, possibly this year, including through discussions with bankers, CNBC reports. A spokesperson for the online retailer declined to comment on the report, saying the company doesn't respond to rumors.
The U.K.-based luxury brand marketplace is targeting a $5 billion valuation, according to the report.
Farfetch last June secured an investment of some $397 million from Chinese e-commerce marketplace giant JD.com, at which time JD.com CEO Richard Liu took a seat on the Farfetch board. That came barely a year after Farfetch raised about $100 million in venture capital money, which stoked its valuation to $1.5 billion. Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet also sits on the board.
It's been several years now that Farfetch showed the world how Silicon Valley is not the only place that can attract big techie dollar amounts, and that luxury fashion has a place online. Farfetch started as an e-commerce marketplace offering products from more than 500 independent boutiques, though the decade-old company also provides technology solutions to support fellow luxury brands and retailers.
Last year the platform connected with Gucci on a 90-minute delivery service for customers of Gucci products, where orders are placed through the Farfetch website and app for fulfillment from Gucci stores in 10 cities. With that, Farfetch expanded from its role as an online marketplace to also provide retailers with technology-enabled capabilities like improved, more flexible fulfillment, analytics and integrated in-store, online and mobile experiences.
Just this month the platform was said to be developing new mobile features that could allow customers to share personalized preference information with Farfetch's retail partners as they enter the brick-and-mortar stores operated by those partners. Farfetch founder and CEO Jose Neves has hinted on an ongoing rollout of new capabilities, telling Reuters about new projects with selected partners, though he didn't offer a timeline or reveal many details.
Farfetch and Net-A-Porter were early players in luxury e-commerce, which some observers once said wouldn't work online because of the segment's high-touch, in-person, brick-and-mortar sales approach and the complex logistics in fulfillment of uber-expensive goods. But they have an advantage over many other apparel and accessories retailers, which are up against Amazon's encroaching market share in lower-priced apparel.