LVMH boosts digital profile with multiple brands website

PARIS (Reuters) - LVMH LVMH.PA is launching a multi-brand e-commerce website inspired by its exclusive Parisian department store Le Bon Marche, as the world's biggest luxury goods group steps up the digital side of its business.

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The new website, named “24 Sevres” after the Rue de Sevres location of Le Bon Marche in the chic 7th arrondissement, will offer fashion, cosmetics and luggage products from LVMH’s own portfolio as well as brands from outside the group.

Overall more than 150 labels, including 20 of LVMH’s own stable such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, or Fendi, will be featured.

The size of the investment amounted to several million euros and marks the biggest digital initiative taken by LVMH since it hired former Apple AAPL.O music executive Ian Rogers in 2015 to craft its digital strategy and capitalise on the luxury sector's online sales expansion.

LVMH, controlled by French billionaire Bernard Arnault, said the new site would go live on June 6 in more than 70 countries.

Competing with established rivals such as Yoox Net-a-Porter YNAP.MI, MyTheresa, or LuisaViaRoma, it echoes the high-end positioning of the Le Bon Marche store.

It will give international clients “very Parisian choices” in the selection of exclusive products, Rogers told Reuters.

“The idea is to be attractive with unique products, not necessarily have a huge offering,” said Rogers.

E-commerce is still a relatively small part of the global luxury goods market, representing 7 percent of industry sales, but this is expected to rise to 12 percent of industry sales by 2020, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

Luxury goods companies face a dilemma over trying to reach young Internet-savvy shoppers while preserving the sense of exclusivity that drives up the value of their products.

LVMH has already tapped into the increasing importance of online social media by setting up LVMH Luxury Ventures to invest in start-up luxury goods projects.

Until now each LVMH brand has had its own separate digital strategy, with some brands such Fendi and Kenzo putting significant resources into this area while other brands such as Celine had no E-commerce website of their own.

The new website will complement the offering available on the respective websites of the LVMH brands, Rogers said.

Big fashion brands such as Prada 1913.HK, Gucci or Valentino will be sold on the site as well as Maison Margiela, seen as a more cutting-edge label, or others such as Kitsune or APC.

LVMH’s online sales of 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) last year equated to 5.3 percent of overall group revenues.

Writing by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Keith Weir