MILAN — The official inauguration on Monday of the sprawling Yoox Net-a-porter Group distribution center in Landriano, outside Milan, also marked the first public appearance of chief executive officer Geoffroy Lefebvre, who took on the role in January.
“This new home will serve every customer in the world and is a testimony of the continued evolution of our distribution footprint, improving our stock visibility and product availability, contributing to a more impressive customer experience,” said Lefebvre.
YNAP has invested 47 million euros in the center, which is one of the group’s most significant investments in Italy in 20 years. Pointing to the commitment of the group to Italy and the territory, the executive said: “We are investing in Italian talent, raising the bar, laying the groundwork for a long-term vision. Italy is at the heart of the group, Yoox was born in Italy, and here we are close to Milan, this is a big logistical hub and it was the obvious choice.”
For the first time in the group’s history, a single hub will serve all of Net-a-porter and Mr Porter’s global customer base, doubling the stores’ existing inventory capacity.
Covering 583,200 square feet, the distribution center will be able to stock 4 million packages to customers a year, and it includes 64,800 square feet exclusively dedicated to digital production of visual content. At the moment, the hub employs 600 people, but it is expected to increase the head count in time. “This is a landmark for luxury,” said Lefebvre.
Leveraging a fully interconnected logistics network built around central hubs and regional distribution centers, the omnistock model gives customers visibility of and access to stock from anywhere in the world.
“This is a most technologically advanced and automated distribution center where innovation and style are joined together,” said Lefebvre, citing for example digital IDs that “bring customers closer to the journey of the products, best-in-class service, and same-day deliveries.”
The system’s intelligent stock allocation and fulfillment capabilities give maximum flexibility in allocating stock to optimize delivery speed and related costs, resulting in higher customer satisfaction, pointed out the CEO.
The group has a global footprint, with hubs in the U.K., the U.S., China, Japan and Dubai, and Lefebvre explained that “some orders will be shipped directly from here, others to local distribution centers depending on the availability of the stock and how fast we can fulfill the orders. It will be optimized by algorithms. Customers want their products yesterday,” he said with a smile.
The pandemic has shown that “e-commerce is also good for luxury,” contended Lefebvre. “People still want to appreciate the experience in stores, but they have seen they can appreciate a similarly good experience online. That’s why we strive with investments to put so much focus on digital production and images, to stimulate customers on a multiplicity of senses, with images to shop from and to get ideas for products they want to buy.”
“I feel that the pandemic has really amplified the immediately addressable audience,” said Alison Loehnis, president of the group’s Luxury and Fashion Division. “The online consumer has grown exponentially and I think this will only continue.” YNAP had the advantage of “being there already,” with “service at the forefront of everything we do and customer top-of-mind.”
Loehnis noted that “even during the pandemic, everyone had to be super, super agile, but we already had the infrastructure to adapt and move quite quickly and get the customer what they desired in that moment in time.”
Sustainability remains key for YNAP, said Lefebvre, citing for example same-day deliveries with all electric vans, and the investment into the group’s private label Iris & Ink collection launched last week, which is 60 percent sustainable made from recycled products, and a sustainable supply chain. “This is a real commitment, it’s a starting point and we want to do more,” he said.
While completed and inaugurated in the presence of Mariastella Gelmini, Minister of Regional Affairs and Autonomies; Fabiana Dadone, Minister for Youth Policy, and Alessandra Todde, Vice Minister of Economic Development, the hub started operating with a number of orders for Mr Porter in 2019 — and was hit by a tornado that summer.
“In the meantime, the world was hit by its own tornado. I had seen it unfinished very early on and I always knew it would be spectacular,” said Loehnis, taking stock of the completed site. “It’s incredibly exciting also to see both brands operable, first it was Mr Porter and then Net-a-porter only a few weeks ago.”
She touted the “access to the worldwide inventory, the constant fulfillment and replenishment [of merchandise] drawing from the central hub,” which will also allow for more speed.
Former chairman and CEO Federico Marchetti, who exited the company in July, had established the omnistock system and spearheaded the construction of the Landriano center. As reported, Marchetti has taken on the role of chair of the fashion task force as part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, launched by HRH the Prince of Wales.
Lefebvre was previously group digital distribution director at YNAP parent Compagnie Financière Richemont.
In over nine years at Richemont, he pursued a career at its headquarters as group industry director, then successively as managing director of operations at Vacheron Constantin; deputy CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre and CEO of Baume & Mercier until 2019.
YNAP’s active customers today total 4.3 million and the group comprises the multibrand online stores Net-a-porter and Mr Porter, and the multibrand off-season players Yoox and The Outnet, as well as the online flagships for designer brands ranging from Giorgio Armani to Valentino.
Marchetti broke ground in Italy by founding Yoox in 2000 and publicly listing it in 2009. He then spearheaded the merger of Yoox and Net-a-porter in 2015.
Richemont took control of YNAP in 2018, delisting it from the Milan Stock Exchange.