Gobbetti, who became chief executive officer of the Florence-based brand this year, has moved quickly, forging a global strategic partnership with Farfetch.
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The deal is intended to strengthen Ferragamo’s presence on the luxury platform and to create shopping experiences that will draw Millennial and Gen Z shoppers.
Ferragamo will use Farfetch’s platform solutions and also explore its “Future Retail” innovations, reinforcing the brand’s bricks-to-clicks omnichannel strategy.
The partnership is another feather in the cap of Neves, who is founder, chairman and CEO of Farfetch and has proven to be the consummate dealmaker, forming alliances with Alibaba, Compagnie Financière Richemont, François-Henri Pinault’s Artemis, Neiman Marcus and more.
“This partnership capitalizes on all of Farfetch’s strengths as the global platform for the luxury industry and taps into our vision for luxury new retail,” Neves said. “Ferragamo’s outstanding product and creativity, coupled with our marketing capabilities and innovative digital experiences will captivate that audience while our media and technology platform capabilities power Ferragamo’s digital ecosystem.”
Gobbetti added that, “Farfetch is the leading digital platform in luxury fashion and represents the ideal partner to further boost Ferragamo’s omnichannel innovation, fueling our plans to reach new, younger audiences and accelerate our growth.”
Neves, who founded Farfetch in 2007, has said he’s looking to build “an operating system” for the global fashion industry.
It’s a multipronged effort that has included a little bit of everything.
Neves bought Browns as well as the buzzy brand producer and Off-White licensee New Guards Group, plugged Farfetch into Alibaba, expanded services on its own e-commerce platform, piloted a connected retail concept with Chanel, and more.
Each arrangement is different, changing to meet the needs of the situation.
The partnership with Neiman Marcus — a big expansion in the U.S. market — included an investment of up to $200 million into the retailer. The tie up with Richemont and Alibaba brought together big luxury and big tech.
And Neves’ next deal, another potential link with Richemont, could bring Farfetch and Net-a-porter together in some fashion.
Each step along the way, Neves’ vision of an operating system comes more into focus. Browns, for instance, was acquired in 2015 and is now a high-tech emporium that has built on Farfetch’s work with Chanel.
And that expertise with connected bricks and mortar could now help Ferragamo stride into the future.
Certainly that’s on the mind of Gobbetti who said the brand, which traces its roots back to 1927, has “enormous potential.”
In March, Gobbetti started to lay out his vision to investors.
“If I had to single out one priority, it’s overall growth,” he said. “We need to give new energy to fuel it. The brand has history, affection around the world, it has a great network of stores, and an excellent supply chain and a great team around the world, so we can do a lot more. We have all the elements to drive a business with more significant volume through our retail network, both physical and digital. I am aware we need investments to drive growth.”
In May, he expanded on that and laid out plans to double revenues in four to five years, investing a total of 400 million euros on store renovations, technology and supply chain in the next three years.
Now, Gobbetti has a new partner in Farfetch to chase that growth.