After just nine months, Conde nast, the global publishing giant that owns such famous titles as GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue, is closing its much heralded online fashion retail ecommerce site Style.com. This comes after it had reportedly spent over $100 million on the ecommerce venture.
Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International, said in a statement to the website staff Tuesday morning: “Three and a half years ago Condé Nast started Style.com with the aim of creating a worldwide ecommerce business. Everyone has worked very hard. There is a great deal to be proud of.
“Sadly, the results of the business have fallen very far short of where we hoped they would be. These decisions were taken only after all other alternatives were explored. It has been a painful decision to make, and I know it is painful for all of you. You worked with tremendous dedication. But in the end it was not enough to achieve the success we hoped to make.”
The move to close the site is a huge backtrack by the company which first announced a rebranding of Style.com in 2014, the site originally the home of all of the company’s runway coverage. The dramatic move also shows just how the glossy magazine industry is in turmoil these days, with titles across the board struggling to cope with the onset of the digital age and unable to adequately adapt to it.
“Our experience with Style.com taught us that content is a powerful driver of commerce, and the combination of great editorial with a great shopping experience creates a great user experience and revenue upside,” said Matt Starker, the general manager of digital strategy at Condé Nast.
Following the closure of Style.com, the company has announced a deal with Farfetch, the online retail platform. As part of the new deal, Farfetch will commercialise the content on Conde Nast’s websites and social media content as well as its customer database and link it to its network of over 200 luxury brands and 500 leading fashion boutiques across the globe.
Speaking about the new deal with Farfetch, Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and Vogue editor, said: “I’ve always believed that what sets Condé Nast apart is our voice and our vision. Partnering with Farfetch only enhances that, and brings a new dimension to all that we offer the world.”
Jose Neves, founder of Farfetch was delighted with the deal. “This global partnership with Condé Nast will significantly augment the retail experience for our customers, and we see it as a natural step in Farfetch’d approach to commerce and our strategic vision to connect those who create fashion, curate fashion and develop fashion content.”
Condé Nast has previously invested in Farfetch and the publisher’s chairman and chief executive, Mr Newhouse, will join the board of Farfetch following the partnership deal.
“As an early investor in Farfetch, this partnership is the next step in our evolving business relationship,” said Mr Newhouse. “It further unites two leaders in their respective sectors, combining best-in-class content with the world’s leading online luxury shopping destination.”