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Vente-Privee.com teams up with Amex for its Stateside launch

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Online private sales business Vente-Privee.com  has teamed up with financial services company American Express to launch a new US website, venteprivee.com.

The Vente-Privee business brings to the partnership its expertise in time-limited sale events in which its 14m European members can buy some 1,450 luxury brands at discounts of up to 70%. Meanwhile American Express brings its existing marketing databases, which vente-privee says will give its US site a “targeted and relevant audience”.

American Express customers will receive extra incentives to buy through the site, including the opportunity to spend their Amex reward points via venteprivee.com.

The two partners hold 50/50 stakes in the joint venture, which is expected to turn over $500m (£313.92m) in the next five years. According to WWD each has invested $35m (£21.9m) in cash, but Vente-Privee will not confirm the figure.

The new US site features customised online boutiques dedicated to European and American brands, and its sale events will have HD video, photography and music. It launched yesterday in the US with an opening sale featuring French brand Paul & Joe Sister, which Vente-Privee says “exemplifies contemporary Parisian chic”.

Mike Steib, chief executive of vente-privee USA, said: “vente-privee USA creates exclusive events for top brands. We bring our partners new revenue while investing significantly in media that supports their image. For our members, we promise world-class products at insider prices. Our aim is to be to the US market what vente-privee.com is in Europe – a leader and innovator in ecommerce.”

Vente-privee.com was founded in 2001 to sell brand overstock. In 2010, it generated £823m in turnover, 15% more than the previous year.

Our view: In this partnership, American Express has the US customers while Vente Privee has the expertise in online sales and partnership building. We will be interested to find out how this boost to its marketing database works to help the private sales brand, well-known on this side of the Atlantic, to break into the notoriously difficult US market. Will its French accent be an asset or a hindrance in the market? Ultimately that will depend on which brands it can secure for the market, and how attuned it is to what US customers want.
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