BULGARI LAUNCHES U.S. BOUTIQUE ON LUXLOOK.COM

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Bulgari aficionados in the U.S. now have a second portal in cyberspace where they can buy the luxury label at an officially sanctioned Web site: Luxlook.com launched a Bulgari e-boutique on Monday.
“We are style driven and this is the only brand we have that originates from the luxury jewelry business,” Francesco M. Clarelli, chief executive officer of Luxlook.com, told WWD. “Bulgari is doing very well on our U.K. site. It’s a big name and people like the product, but it’s not easy to find.”
The new e-boutique is offering U.S. cybershoppers more than 100 items bearing the Bulgari brand, with prices starting at $175 for a tie and climbing to $4,700 for a watch. The assortment includes many of Bulgari’s best-selling watches and jewels, as well as a selection of handbags, scarves and leather goods.
New York-based Luxlook, founded by Milanese financier Clarelli, went live with transactional Web sites in the U.K. and Germany in November, its first foray beyond the U.S., where it opened in September. Investors in the fledgling dot-com include Bulgari, which purchased 2 percent of Luxlook last fall — its first Internet investment apart from its own Web site which does not offer e-commerce — and Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali SpA, Luxlook’s largest shareholder, with roughly a 10 percent stake. Other investors include Italian finance, Internet and manufacturing firms. Luxlook raised a total of $66.6 million in two rounds of financing last year, as noted.
Bulgari first offered goods online in the U.S. last year, at eLuxury.com, where they continue to be carried. “We have made our merchandising choices so that we don’t have all the same products,” Clarelli noted. “We think people will tend toward official Bulgari [e-commerce] sites because the products are too expensive to risk not getting the real thing,” he said in alluding to the burgeoning problem of e-shoppers who get stuck with counterfeit goods purchased online. “One issue,” Clarelli added, “was what the highest-priced item was that we wanted to put on the site. We decided the $4,700 watch was the ceiling.”
In another development, Luxlook has slowed down its timetable for the launch of three more e-commerce destinations and now plans to launch a European Community Web site and a rest-of-the-world site this spring, as well as one in Japan this summer. Previously, Luxlook had aimed to launch the rest-of-the-world site last November and Web sites in France and Italy this September, but it has refocused to insure that the Net destination for Japan goes online as scheduled, since that country’s citizens have shown a strong affinity for American fashion and pop culture and an early fascination with the Internet.

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