Visiting Dignitaries

Vente-Privee, the French Flash Sales Site Imitated By Gilt Groupe, Plans U.S. Launch in November

venteprive Vente Privee, the French Flash Sales Site Imitated By Gilt Groupe, Plans U.S. Launch in November

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Here’s a little flash sales e-commerce history for you. Before there was Rue La La or One Kings Lane or even Gilt Groupe, there was Vente-Privee. And it’s headed for our shores.

The French startup just announced plans to launch a website in the U.S. by mid-November in partnership with American Express, reports Reuters. Of course the company, which was founded in 2001, will be entering a very different market than the one it started in, with both Amazon muscling its way into daily deals and the proliferation of discount fashion plays.

But that doesn’t seem to have dampened Vente-Privee’s ambitions. With American Express’s help, it aims to reach $500 million in sales in the next five years. Both Vente and Amex agreed to invest $15-20 million a piece in the joint venture.

According to Reuters:

“To conquer the U.S., Granjon [founder and CEO Jacques-Antoine Granjon] said Vente-Privee would stick closely to its formula of selling luxury goods to price-conscious fashionistas in two- to six-day sales, while helping major brands like Armani and Diesel liquidate unsold stock.”

As Betabeat has mentioned, Gilt Groupe’s strategy on the other hand seems to be to continue to rapidly launch new verticals as existing ones mature.

But Vente Privee may face other pressures. The company has been profitable since 2004, and “the subject of frequent speculation about an initial public offering or a takeover by a U.S. giant like Amazon,” says Reuters.  Possibilities that the seasoned Mr. Granjon dismissed. Careful, Jacques-Antoine. Nobody puts Bezos in a corner.

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