The upmarket online retailer BrandAlley has posted a storming 70 per cent rise in sales over the first nine months of this year, driven by a growing army of high street brands attracted to its website. The company – which specialises in flash sales of designer goods at discounts of up to 70 per cent – is trying to raise €100m to fund the acquisition of fledgling businesses in the sector.
Rob Feldmann, the chief executive of BrandAlley, declined to comment on the fund-raising process, which it started by appointing the investment bank Merrill Lynch in May. But he said its website, which runs six flash sales a day, had attracted 75,000 new customers over the first nine months of 2011. A joint venture between its founder Sven Lung and News International, it saw sales rise 70 per cent to £23m over this period, boosted by it attracting new brands.
Mr Feldmann said: "The reason our sales are up 70 per cent is because we are opening up so many new high street brands. The brands have realised it is an unbelievable way of getting new customers, both by driving traffic to their websites and high street stores."
The brands benefit from increased traffic, but also from a huge marketing drive when BrandAlley sends an email about a new flash sale to the 2.5 million customers on its database. These sales typically last four to five days. BrandAlley – which sells products from dresses to homewares and jewellery – works with brands including Ted Baker, Jaeger, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Nespresso. Founded in 2005, BrandAlley is the biggest flash, or private, sale website in the UK and is the second largest in France, behind Vente-privee.
Mr Feldmann said BrandAlley would launch a website for mobile users next month. "We are opening a full mobile site in November," he said. "You have to let consumers shop the way they want, whether they are on the bus or train." In a survey of 200,000 online users by Compete, BrandAlley was the fastest-growing UK retail site in terms of unique visitors between July 2010 and this July.