NEW YORK — As big online retailers swallow little ones, privately held Italian Web store Yoox is turning in solid results and staying on its independent course, said founder and chief executive officer Federico Marchetti.
The company said Monday that online revenues had reached $63 million in 2005, an increase of 47 percent over the year before. The company has been profitable since 2004.
Yoox is an online store that sells out-of-season designer clothing at a discount, vintage clothing, and special collections it commissions from designers such as Bernard Wilhelm.
The company recently signed its first agreement to build and run an online store for an Italian apparel maker. The name will be announced in April. Meanwhile, Yoox is in discussions with other manufacturers. “We’re trying to get the ones we think will be successful,” Marchetti said.
Yoox, which has distribution centers in Europe, Japan, and the U.S., recently started shipping to every country. The process was fairly simple, involving a more integrated relationship with its couriers and Customs, said Marchetti. Eventually, Yoox plans to localize its service for new markets, most likely South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, and China.
“We are trying to make Yoox a destination,” Marchetti said, meaning that visitors will remember the retailer and come to the site by typing in a URL rather than coming through a search engine such as Google, which Marchetti fears could raise its prices at any time. “We’ve created a lot of buzz around Yoox. Being global helps a lot,” he said.
The site has more than 2.5 million visitors a month, and 50 percent of them come to the site by typing in the URL, Marchetti said.
“I do believe 100 percent that to sell fashion online also is an art and not just a science,” said Marchetti. “Not everybody has the ability to do fashion online. In Silicon Valley, maybe everything works, but feelings, emotions, pictures — you cannot have the hard part without the soft.”
As for the future of online commerce and the recent acquisition of Shopbop by Amazon, Marchetti said he thinks “we’ll see a lot of changes” in the near future as big retailers expand into new markets and new players go online.
Marchetti said he does not plan to sell Yoox and is not looking for investors, but hopes to go public eventually.
“The Internet is already and will become even more of a jungle. If everyone is wearing black, it makes sense to wear white,” he said, looking around the sea of dark jackets in the dining room of Lever House during an interview. “A differentiation strategy makes sense. We will stay independent.”