A steering group that brings together leaders from Richemont, Kering, Farfetch and Alibaba Group has been created with the lofty ambition to redefine luxury retail for this century.

Farfetch and Alibaba are the founders of the steering group, which has a stated aim to define and shape “Luxury New Retail”.

Richemont chairman, Johann Rupert, and François‐Henri Pinault chairman of Kering Artemis join Farfetch and Alibaba on the LNR steering group as founding members, bringing their combined decades of industry leadership and expertise.

The committee also represents watch brands including Richemont’s Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Panerai with Kering’s Gucci, Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux, plus Watchfinder, Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter, which already sell watches.

Luxury New Retail (LNR) is a visionary initiative which will leverage Farfetch’s and Alibaba’s state‐of‐ the‐art omnichannel retail technologies to serve the needs of luxury businesses, including a full suite of enterprise solutions powered by Farfetch. These solutions will serve both mono‐brand and multi‐brand distribution strategies for luxury brands, including fully‐connected e‐commerce websites and apps, omnichannel retail technology, and access to the Farfetch and Tmall Luxury Pavilion marketplaces via a single integration,” a statement from Richemont describes.

The steering committee is more than just a talking shop, particularly since all the founders have over $1 billion of skin in the game.

As part of the global partnership, Alibaba and Richemont will invest $300 million. Alibaba and Richemont will also invest $250 million each in Farfetch China, taking a combined 25% stake in a new joint venture that will include Farfetch’s marketplace operations in the China region.

In addition, Alibaba and Richemont have an option to purchase a further combined 24% of Farfetch China after the third year of the joint venture’s formation. Alibaba and Richemont will also explore additional opportunities to work closely with Farfetch to provide services to luxury brands.

“This announcement is a major step in our mission to connect the curators, creators and consumers of the luxury fashion industry,” says José Neves, Farfetch founder, chairman and CEO.

“The new initiatives with Alibaba Group and Richemont extend Farfetch’s strategy to power the digital transformation occurring across the luxury industry, which has been accelerated by the unprecedented challenges resulting from the covid‐19 pandemic. The Luxury New Retail initiative will explore ways we can help the wider industry move forward and thrive in the post‐covid world.”

Richemont has made bold investments before to become a global leader in luxury ecommerce. The group already owns Yoox Net-A-Porter and Watchfinder, which could become part of future integration plans across Alibaba and FarFetch, but are not mentioned in the most recent partnership announcement.

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