Another men's luxury e-commerce site to launch in 2011

Following the announcement by Net-a-porter that it will launch a separate men's e-commerce site in January 2011, Gilt Groupe is also taking the plunge: the fashion e-tailer says it too will unveil a new full-priced men's site next year.

Gilt Groupe is a members-only shopping site that specialises in 36-hour flash sales with designer brands like Vivienne Tam, Marc Jacobs, and Derek Lam sold for up to 70 percent. The U.S. e-tailer, which draws nearly one million monthly visitors, was launched in 2007. It offers a curated selection of merchandise, including apparel, accessories and lifestyle items across the women's, men's and children's categories.

Gilt has offered men's items since April 2008 and launched its dedicated Gilt Man site last October. Its men's business now exceeds $100 million in sales, representing nearly one-third of the company's business. The next logical step, according to company executives, is to launch a full-priced men's fashion site separate from the current one that operates around flash sales.

The launch date is set for July 2011, in order to coincide with the release of pre-fall collections. The fledging site will offer apparel, accessories, athletic gear, gadgets and more. Between 75 to 100 brands will be offered and they will be similar to those currently found on Gilt Man, such as A. Testoni, Calvin Klein and John Varvatos. Articles will remain available for purchase for an entire season rather than for 36 hours under the current flash-sales model.

E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry. Online retailers registered a 11.4% growth from October 31 through November 13, according to MasterCard. Yet there are relatively few e-tailers that cater only to men's fashion. Most e-boutiques are targeted towards women, such as the bevy of flash sales sites like Rue La La, Ideeli and HauteLook, and the full-priced luxury fashion retailer Net-a-porter.

Sites dedicated to men's clothing and accessories include Topman - which carries contemporary urban brands like Wesc and Ben Sherman - and Mainline Menswear - which carries designer brands like Lacoste, Ted Baker and Paul Smith. But Gilt won't be competing with these businesses, given its luxury positioning. Its main business rival will undoubtedly be Net-a-porter's men's site MrPorter (due to launch next January), which will target time-pressed, affluent men and offer a selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories from 60 upscale brands, including Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Dunhill, and Mr. by Roland Mouret.

http://www.gilt.com/

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