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Vente Privee turns 10

This is an archived article - we have removed images and other assets but have left the text unchanged for your reference is 10 years old. So far in this anniversary year the online private sales business, which launched its first event in 2001, has already turned over £940m – and has plans for expansion.

Those plans will see the website’s model expanded to new sectors from fashion accessories and homewares to toys, sports equipment, high tech products and food. The company also recently launched a Digital Commerce Factory, which handles ecommerce activity for brands.

“The company is a leader in its sector today,” says founder and chief executive Jacques-Antoine Granjon, “but you can’t build a structure like this in such a short space of time without solid company experience, excellent interpersonal skills and knowledge of a trade that you know inside out.”

Vente Privee’s roots go back to 1985, when Granjon started a brand de-stocking company. In 2001 it was launched on the internet, offering limited stocks of discounted branded products in daily, time-limited sale events.

By 2005 its turnover was growing by more than 500% a year, and today the company operates in eight European markets, including the UK and, most recently, the USA. It now has 14m members, 1,450 brand partners and 1,400 employees. In 2010 it sold 41m products, and turned over £823m (€969m), 15% up on the previous year. So far this year it has already turned over £940m.

Behind this success, said Granjon, lies trust. “The internet works first and foremost through trust,” he said. “This trust takes time to acquire and is hard to retain. We are now part of a society that is based on supply and demand, in which the mature and informed consumer must be respected and companies must be transparent with their offers. It is also the revolution of e-commerce: a multitude of offers and independent, informed consumers.”

Our view: Vente Privee, which is celebrating its first decade in business, is arguably in its element this year. Austerity chic together with a still-strong taste for luxury means that many consumers are seeking out it, and its competitors, as they look for aspirational brands at a price they can afford. Small wonder that the company looks set to achieve the £1bn turnover milestone in the near future.

Being a survivor thus far counts, but in this time of austerity Vente Privee now has more competitors than ever, and beating them to the innovations – and to the best brands – is ultimately what will count.

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