Farfetch ‘to exit beauty business’

Rumours that Farfetch will exit its beauty business appear to be correct with reports that it will be shut down as soon as 31 August.

There has been plenty of speculation in recent periods around the move but Farfetch hasn’t commented officially on the plan so far, although the absence of any denial of the reports suggests they’re correct. But for now, its website has no information suggesting anything is changing.

It’s believed that its acquired Violet Grey beauty operation and Browns Beauty will continue.

It’s not much more than a year after Farfetch launched the beauty business on its website (in April 2022) with much fanfare and it’s a bit longer since it bought upscale beauty retailer Violet Grey (January 2022).

The company launched the beauty offer on its core site with 100+ prestige brands. The overall line-up from the group included massive and niche brands such as African Botanics, Chanel, Chantecaille, Charlotte Tilbury, Frédéric Malle, Gucci, Joanna Vargas, La Mer, Olaplex, Prada, Sam McKnight, Sisley Paris, Tom Ford, Vintner’s Daughter, Westman Atelier, and Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, among others.

The e-tailer had said the aim was to take “the experience beyond boundaries, with a one-stop destination to inspire the next generation of luxury fashion and beauty lovers. Farfetch will provide its extensive luxury audience an immersive crossover between fashion and beauty with a unique opportunity for discovering and shopping beauty online through a curated selection of products and community voices — serving customers across ages, races, cultures, and genders”.

And it set up the Farfetch Beauty Global Collective, “a community of brand founders, industry experts, creatives and visionaries shaping a new approach to beauty”. 

But the latest move underlines the difficulty of carving out market share in a sector that already has a large number of well established and deep pocketed retailers in dominant positions at all price levels.

Meanwhile, it has also been reported that Farfetch is making redundancies in its London and New York offices, although the numbers of jobs lost aren’t believed to be large.

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