American Express diversifies into online fashion sales

Source: American Express

American Express (NYSE:AXP) and vente-privee.com, the global leader in online private sales, today announced the formation of a joint venture to introduce vente- privee.com, an industry leading online store for luxury fashion and lifestyle products, to the U.S. market.

The first in the world to develop and establish the online private sales strategy, vente-privee.com's European websites offer sales of designer brands with preferential pricing for its members for limited amounts of time. This U.S. e-commerce business will provide a new shopping option for consumers while enabling brands to connect with new audiences.

Online private sales emerged in 2001 when vente-privee.com launched its business in France. Since then the vente-privee.com reputation for customer service and quality merchandise has helped to shape the private sales industry and has spawned a host of imitators around the world. vente-privee.com has emerged as the clear global leader with approximately 13 million members and more than $1 billion in European sales. vente-privee.com was honored with the "Innovation Award 2010" by the French Customer Service Association, "Customer Service of the Year 2010 and 2011" in France by BVA-Viséo Conseil (France) and Founder Jacques-Antoine Granjon was voted "Businessman of the Year 2010" by GQ Magazine in France.

"This joint venture brings together two brands that are committed to creating e-commerce opportunities in ways that benefit both consumers and businesses, have a heritage in the luxury market and place a high premium on delivering quality customer service," said Dan Schulman, Group President, Enterprise Growth, American Express. "vente-privee.com is the market leader in online private sales and has built one of the largest retail membership bases in Europe. We look forward to working with the vente-privee.com leadership team to bring this exciting platform to the U.S."

"Bringing the vente-privee.com business model to the U.S. with an outstanding partner that shares our culture and our views was a critical choice for us," said Jacques-Antoine Granjon, CEO and founder, vente-privee.com. "The brands where we have strong relationships are excited about extending their offerings into the U.S. market through this joint venture. There is no question that American Express was our partner of choice. As leaders in B2B and B2C market approaches, we will now combine our skill sets to deliver experiences that are unmatched in the U.S. market."

The joint venture marks American Express' latest move in online commerce solutions and continues its commitment to serving as a connection point between customers and businesses. The new online platform will help American Express engage with an expanded audience while also introducing vente-privee.com and its participating brands to a broader range of consumers. The joint venture will benefit from vente-privee.com's merchandise buying expertise, state-of-the-art e-commerce platform and creative digital capabilities and online catalogues.

The new site will be available to all consumers and will be the online destination for highly desirable products, services and experiences with each offer having been carefully selected from leading global brands. The delivery of the offerings will be done in a manner that provides an outstanding end to end user experience and attentive, expert customer service.

As part of the agreement, each organization will own 50 percent of the new entity. This marks the first non-European market entry for vente-privee.com, and allows American Express to expand its presence in e-commerce solutions.

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