Cheltenham-based tech entrepreneur secures £8.58 million funding for online fashion marketplace

SecretSales

An online platform aimed at the premium discount sector has secured almost £8.6 million (10 million euros) in scale-up funding in a Series A funding round led by private equity company Perwyn Growth Capital.

Secretsales.com was launched in 2006 by  brothers Nish and Sach Kukadia. In November 2019 it was bought by Lifestyle Retail Group (LRG), set up by Chris Griffin, the man who made fashion retailer SuperDry’s e-commerce business a runaway success in the early 2000s.

Chris, who is based in Cheltenham, went on to establish the retail software company Anatwine with Matt Purt, now his co-founder at LRG, which the men went on to sell to German online fashion retailer Zalando in 2017.

When Chris and Matt bought into Secret Sales, it was running a flash sale operation and turning over around £50 million, but the entire operation has been relaunched to become an exclusive online store.

Discount retailing is an accepted way to dispose of excess stock. But for the world’s top brands, such as Dior, Gucci, Ted Baker and Jimmy Choo, it’s tricky. How can you dispose of goods you’ve previously marketed as “luxury” at less than half price and still maintain that sizzle of exclusivity?

Beautiful clothes from the world’s most famous fashion houses must maintain their desirability, and the retention of brand equity is a massive headache for every top fashion brand’s marketing team.

Secret Sales not only offers brands a place to sell excess stock in a classy and engaging way, it also helps brands build customer data to which they can market their full price stock.

Secret Sales will use the funds raised to advance technological development, scaling its ecommerce platform to compete as a global player in the discount retail space. The marketplace will expand its UK operations and launch in six new territories in the next year, bringing hundreds of more brands and retailers onboard to drive both domestic and international growth. The investment will also enable Secret Sales to improve data mining capabilities to optimise user experience on the platform, which in turn will increase sales and customer engagement for brand and retail partners.

Chris said: ““Our Series A funding round from experienced investors validates the significant opportunity for Secret Sales’ business model worldwide, and will allow us to meet increasing demand from brands and retailers looking for an upmarket, profitable and sustainable way to sell non full price inventory.”