Online fashion retailer Net-A-Porter has launched its own glossy women’s magazine, Porter, in an ambitious move that will see an estimated 400,000 copies distributed worldwide six times a year.
Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet unveiled Porter at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, before flying to America to launch it at New York Fashion Week tomorrow.
Massenet, who set up the upscale fashion website in 2000, said: “The founding idea for this business was about launching a shoppable magazine online, inspired by the incredible glossy magazines we have grown up with. With the launch of Porter, I feel like we have come full circle.”
Douglas McCabe, analyst at Enders Analysis, described it as “the biggest launch of a British fashion magazine for years”.
He said the launch is significant because Net-A-Porter is an e-commerce retailer, not a traditional publisher, which has chosen to invest in a print magazine that will sell in shops.
Porter costs £5 and will be available in 20,000 stockists in 60 countries around the world, including newsagents and supermarkets.
The 284-page debut issue features model Gisele Bundchen on the cover and there are articles by photographer David Bailey and movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
Editor Lucy Yeomans said: “This is something that print does so well. It’s trusted and readers have an emotional connection. They love print.”
She said Porter is aimed at “sophisticated women of the world” and claimed the magazine was unique because there is one global edition – rather than having lots of editions like Vogue or Harpers Bazaar for different countries and regions.
Yeomans dismissed suggestions that the magazine is just a glossy sales catalogue for the Net-A-Porter website. “We’re featuring all brands, whether they’re stocked on Net-A-Porter or not.”
Porter uses image-recognition software so readers can use their smartphone to find out information and buy products that are featured in the print magazine just by pointing the camera at an object on the page.
There is also a digital version of Porter that allows readers to click and buy. Ms Yeomans described it as “content and commerce coming together”.
Tess Macleod-Smith, publisher of Porter, said about 42 per cent of copies will be distributed in America, around 38 per cent in Britain, and the rest in Europe and Asia-Pacific. She would not comment on circulation figures.
She hopes the magazine, which has around 50 staff in Net-A-Porter’s headquarters in Shepherd’s Bush, can be profitable within “a couple of years”.
Swiss luxury group Richemont bought Net-A-Porter in 2010 in a deal that valued the online retailer at £350 million and made Ms Massenet a fortune.
Net-A-Porter has six million website visitors a month. Sales rose last year to £436 million but the company made a £23 million loss as it invested in expansion.
Porter’s launch was expected last autumn but was delayed.Reuse content