LONDON — Amazon Fashion Luxury Stores is taking a long-awaited leap into Europe, nearly two years after launching the concept in the U.S.
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The retail brand, which was originally set to make its European debut last November, according to industry sources, will come to market with a roster of names including Christopher Kane, Dundas, Elie Saab, Mira Mikati, Boglioli and Altuzarra, many of which already sell on the U.S. version of the site.
The shop will initially be available in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain at Amazon.co.uk/luxury stores.
“Fashion is an area where we continue to innovate and add selection, and we’re always looking for opportunities to offer our diverse, fashion-engaged customers more of their favorite brands and styles,” said Ruth Diaz, VP of Amazon Fashion Europe.
“This is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing to support brands with innovative tools and resources, so they can share their latest collections and unique stories with our customers across Europe season after season,” she added.
The collections will be sold directly by the brands and designers, which make “independent decisions regarding their inventory, selection and pricing,” Amazon said.
The digital retail giant said customers in Europe and the U.S. can shop Luxury Stores on devices such as the Amazon mobile app, desktop, mobile and tablet browsers.
When the Luxury Stores concept launched two years ago in the U.S., it was much more limited: It was by-invitation-only platform for top-spending Prime members, with its own site located inside the Amazon app.
As the months have progressed — and the competition has stiffened — the site has progressively opened to a broader customer base. On Instagram, it is also working with influencers including Imaan Hammam, Tommy Dorfman and Camille Rowe.
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Amazon Luxury Stores Europe will launch with a campaign shot by Angelo Pennetta and styled by Charlotte Collet. It features Kristen McMenamy, Precious Lee, Opinion & Analysis.
Sally Singer, head of fashion direction, said: “We have a unique opportunity to bring directional, inclusive storytelling and technology to the business of fashion with exciting opportunities for designers and customers alike.”
As reported, the European arm of Luxury Stores is launching as competition for brands — and customers’ wallets — is more ferocious than ever.
While some of the brands on the U.S. platform have been reporting robust sales and remain transfixed by the potential of reaching even a fraction of Amazon’s customers, there are those who believe the momentum might not transfer to Europe.
Europe is brimming with homegrown, multibrand fashion and luxury sites such as Zalando, Farfetch, Mytheresa, Net-a-porter, Matchesfashion and the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned 24 Sèvres.
Add the Tmall and JD.com dynamics to the punchbowl, and it makes for one potent cocktail of competition.
In the nearly two years since Amazon Luxury Stores launched, those European sites have been forging new, international alliances, such as Compagnie Financière Richemont and Farfetch’s impending deal, and making further inroads in luxury.
Some brand managers interviewed by WWD last year said they were disappointed that Amazon had opened Luxury Stores to a broader audience (no longer restricting it to top Prime customers) and that the big-name luxury brands from groups such as Kering and LVMH never arrived.
“There are no adjacencies to elevate the smaller brands that are already on the site,” said one manager who asked not to be named. Another one added: “We were expecting them to come up with the heavy hitting brands, but they haven’t so far.”
Another company chief who asked not to be named told WWD that Luxury Stores makes more sense in the U.S., because the wholesale market is smaller with the recent closure of so many department stores in the region.
This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.