Louis Vuitton takes e-commerce route with investment in Lyst

Online shopping trendsLouis Vuitton owner LVMH has invested in online fashion search business Lyst as the world’s biggest luxury brands look to expand their presence online and capture younger shoppers, Reuters reported.

London-based Lyst did not disclose how much it had raised in its latest financing round which was led by LVMH and included other investors.

The total investment raised was between $67-$134 million.

Long wary that e-commerce would not sit well with their exclusive image, luxury brands are piling into the market, chasing young consumers comfortable with buying expensive items online, and especially web-savvy buyers in China.

LVMH last year launched 24 Sevres, its own multi-brand shopping site, while Cartier owner Richemont is taking full control of rival platform Yoox Net-A-Porter.

Peers in this segment also include Farfetch, tipped for a U.S. stock market listing this year, and Matchesfashion.com, now majority owned by private equity firm Apax.

Lyst operates as a search engine connecting shoppers to items they are seeking on multi-brand sites or fashion label’s own e-commerce pages, taking commissions when purchases go through.

Lyst said it would use the latest funding to expand into new regions and languages – it has just launched in French – as well as to invest in technology, including to improve search algorithms.

“Today 60 percent of our business comes from the United States, and we’re planning to expand into Europe and Asia in the next 18 months,” Chris Morton, Lyst’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an emailed comment.

The firm’s existing investors include venture capital firms Accel, Balderton, Draper Esprit, 14W and a U.S. hedge fund, Morton said.

LVMH’s digital chief Ian Rogers will sit on Lyst’s board following the group’s investment.

Bernard Arnault, the billionaire boss of LVMH, invested in a previous Lyst financing round through his family office in 2015.

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