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UK luxury retailer Farfetch aims for New York listing

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By Reuters
UK luxury retailer Farfetch aims for New York listing
FILE PHOTO: Branding for online fashion house Farfetch is seen at the company headquarters in London, Britain January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville   -   Copyright  TOBY MELVILLE(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Online fashion retailer Farfetch <IPO-FAR.L> plans to float on the New York Stock Exchange, the London-based firm said on Monday, seeking to capitalise on rapid growth in luxury sales on the web.

Competition to capture online shoppers has picked up among premium brands in recent years, pitting conglomerates like Louis Vuitton owner LVMH <LVMH.PA> against independent operators as some firms scramble to make up for a slow move into e-commerce.

Farfetch runs an online marketplace allowing people to buy luxury clothes or accessories from nearly 1,000 brands and boutiques worldwide, differing from some other models where sites hold stock.

The company, which has yet to turn a profit in its 10-year history, plans to list with the symbol ‘FTCH’. It did not disclose the number of shares it would sell or the offer price per share.

It did not give a timeline for its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO), only detailing that the listing would take place in 2018.

Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Allen & Co, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, Cowen and BNP Paribas are underwriting the flotation.

Farfetch, which competes with other online luxury platforms like MyTheresa or MatchesFashion, has also expanded as a technology firm, working with brands like France’s Chanel to link their stores to digital services like chatrooms.

It has also paired up with labels like Britain’s Burberry <BRBY.L> to help make its inventory more widely available online.

Other firms have been putting resources into their own e-commerce ventures, including Cartier parent Richemont <CFR.S>, which sealed a deal this year to take control of Farfetch rival Yoox Net-A-Porter.

Farfetch is still in the red, even as revenues grew 59 percent to $386 million (£302.7 million) in 2017, the regulatory filings showed.

Its losses deepened to $68 million in the first half of 2018, from $29 million in the same period last year, as investments and costs increased.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru and Sarah White in Paris; Editing by Edmund Blair)