SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE: Although Farfetch remains privately owned, it’s starting to adopt the style of a publicly quoted company. On Thursday, the fashion retail platform said all employees will be offered share options in the company through a new initiative called Farfetch for All. As of Feb. 1, 1,300 people, from junior staff to executives across 11 offices globally, were included in the scheme.
“We have become one of only 200 private companies globally to have achieved a valuation of over $1 billion dollars. We are very proud of our achievements and want to reward our people who have helped to bring them to fruition,” said José Neves, chief executive officer and founder of Farfetch. “We are reinforcing this message to our people and rewarding all who have participated in this journey so far, as well as hoping to attract new talent who embrace these values as we look to the future.”
The incentive plan equates to an investment of $40 million, based on the latest company valuation. Farfetch said it was the single largest investment the company has made to date.
Farfetch said the group, which includes global subsidiaries, offices and the business units of the Farfetch.com, Browns, Black & White and Store of the Future, grew 70 percent in fiscal 2016, based on the value of goods traded.
In the final quarter of 2016, which includes the pre-Christmas trading period, the growth rate at Farfetch.com was 75 percent, and the site delivered a profit.
Farfetch said future growth will come through innovation, third-party partnerships and access to new markets. Its Store of the Future project is focused on redefining the omnichannel retail experience for the customer. Key elements and details of this will be discussed at the FarfetchOS event which, as reported, will take place in London on April 12.
In October, Neves said there could be an IPO in Farfetch’s future.
“In the long term, it is theoretically something we will contemplate. There’s no timing for it, we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We have investors, and actually that’s the best way of continuing with our work, with a very clear culture, vision and values.
“Many people think that an IPO makes a company less independent — actually it’s the opposite,” continued Neves. “If done well, like in the cases of Facebook and Apple, the IPOs have not killed the culture of those businesses. On the contrary, they are the best way to ensure the founders stay on the team for many years, revolutionizing their industries.”
Both Neves and the company have denied that plans for an IPO are already in motion.