Grenoble-based, online footwear and handbag retailer Spartoo, which was founded in 2006 by new grads Jérémie Touchard, Boris Saragaglia, and Paul Lorne, has been on a whirlwind ride over the last few years. Following on news of their having reached 12M unique visitors per month, achieved a 20 fold increase in sales over three years and raised a 25M€ series C round last October, they’ve now announced that starting in mid-March they will be expanding their product line beyond shoes and handbags to men’s and women’s clothing. With the expansion, they’ll now carry 6,000 clothing items and at least 100 well-known and popular clothing brands such as Diesel, Levis, Adidas, Nike, Eleven Paris, American Apparel, Tommy Hilfiger, Esprit, Timberland etc, adding to the 30,000 items and 700 shoe and handbag brands they already carry.
Since its founding, Spartoo has managed to distinguish itself as a leading player In a very crowded and competitive space. While much of their focus thus far has been on the French market, they do sell and ship to 20 European countries which was a big driver of their having sold 2 million pairs of shoes in 2011 and achieved €130 million in revenues last year. Buoyed by their recent fundraising, product-line diversification, and increased focus on European markets (beyond France), they anticipate that their impressive sales growth continue, jumping an additional 30-40% this year.
As pointed out in a recent piece on Spartoo by The Next Web, finding a way compete with the well-funded, high-end, apparel and accessories ecommerce giants is going to be a real challenge for Spartoo. All of these players are also making big inroads into Europe, making an already competitive space even more challenging. Spartoo’s biggest competitors look to be Fab, which has raised an eye watering $150 million; Simply Fab, which recently raised a $76 million series B round; Rocket Internet funded Zalando and StylistPick; recently funded the Fancy; and JustFab which is backed by well-known fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons and currently rolling out across Europe. And these are just the new entrants, not forgetting the sector stalwarts such as Vente Privée; Showroom Privée, which is now rolling-out across Europe; and Amazon owned Zappos.com, As distribution makes all the difference in retail (online or off), one big thing that they have going for them versus the new entrants is a well-run, centrally based, 180 person strong operation in Grenoble. As their competitors are trying to invest in an effort to scale up here, this is at least one area where Spartoo are ahead of the pack. However, they need to move quickly in order to rapidly increase their footprint across Europe as well as effectively defend their turf.