Sarah Rutson


NEW YORK — Sarah Rutson, vice president of global buying at Net-a-porter.com, has resigned from her post, WWD has learned.

The company said: “We would like to thank Sarah for the passion and dedication she has shown to Net-a-porter. During her tenure, our product selection has remained a key differentiator, providing our global customers with the best curated edit of the season’s most covetable collections. She leaves behind a very talented buying team who will continue to deliver exciting growth for the business.”

Her departure could be announced as early as Friday.

One of the most photographed retailers at international fashion weeks, with more than 59,000 followers on her personal Instagram account, Rutson is also known as a formidable business rainmaker with sharp fashion instincts and strong relations with top designer brands.

She spearheaded an array of high-profile and exclusive collaborations — including one of the first with Alessandro Michele at Gucci — and brought on board an array of marquee brands rarely sold online, including Azzedine Alaïa and Chanel’s Coco Crush jewelry.

Sources describe Rutson as a bottom-line driven executive with a strong creative bent, able to drive legacy businesses such as Chloé to greater heights and nurture upstart brands into like J.W. Anderson, Vetements, Off-White and Altuzarra into significant franchises.

Finding labels that offer luxury at a great price point has been another recent focus for Rutson and her team of approximately 50. She planned to launch up to 90 labels for spring 2017 retailing, many of which are in the contemporary space.

Rutson joined Net-a-porter.com in December 2014 and was based at the e-tailer’s New York offices, even if she spent much of the year on the road for buying and scouting trips. A British national, Rutson had joined Net-a-porter.com from Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, where she was its longtime fashion director.

She became known for her lively — and often self-deprecating — presentations of the season’s trends, walking press through the key styles at the Soho House Cinema in London.

Whatever she happened to be talking about that day, she was also wearing as in a La Ligne striped satin oversize top and trousers. The retailer had just taken on the contemporary brand. Last year, when talking about the spring 2017 corset trend, she donned a knitted Joseph corset just to drive the point home.

She was an early supporter and mentor of the designers behind Monse, who have just been tapped to design for Oscar de la Renta, and was a lifelong advocate of Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garçons, taking them to Net-a-porter.

Rutson was hired by Net-a-porter’s founder Natalie Massenet before the site merged with Yoox to become Yoox Net-a-porter Group to fill the buying role left vacant by Holli Rogers. Rogers had earlier left Net-a-porter, and is now chief executive officer of Browns. Rutson reported to Alison Loehnis, whose title is now president of Net-a-porter and Mr. Porter.

Rutson’s departure follows a retooling of the chain of command, with the hire of Matthew Woolsey as managing director of Net-a-porter. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of the site and for driving international growth.

As reported, Woolsey oversees the content, marketing and buying functions for the luxury full-price fashion site, and is based at the company’s West London headquarters.

Woolsey was formerly executive vice president of digital for Barneys New York, where he oversaw the tripling of the retailer’s digital business in four years.

YNAP is gunning for revenues of up to 4.1 billion euros, or $4.32 billion, at current exchange, by 2020 and has been ramping up its technology platform and expanding its presence in the U.K. and Italy where it is based.

YNAP is also expecting its market share to grow from the current 10 percent to 11 to 12 percent by 2020.

Last March, YNAP reported a 37.9 percent uptick in adjusted 2015 net income to 59.7 million euros, or $66.3 million, and an increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 25.7 percent to 133.1 million euros, or $147.7 million.

Pro-forma revenues were 1.7 billion euros, or $1.8 billion, for 2015, a 30.9 percent uptick compared with the previous year. At constant exchange rates, sales were up 21 percent, with all business channels and all markets lifted by the e-tailer’s performance last year.

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