Matchesfashion Is Closing Down

As Fall 2024 fashion month comes to a close and buyers start planning their ready-to-wear assortments for the upcoming season, there’s more troubling news in the designer fashion retail sector.

On Thursday, British retail firm Frasers Group announced that luxury e-commerce platform Matchesfashion (recently rebranded to Matches) is going into administration. Frasers Group only acquired the digital retailer — which had experienced consistent losses over the last few years — from Apax Partners in late December 2023 for £52 million (about $66.6 million). According to Frasers, Matchesfashion has continued to lose money and miss business targets in the two months since. (Per Sky News, Matches has also reportedly been failing to pay brands on time, and some have severed ties with the retailer.)

“Whilst Matches’ management team has tried to find a way to stabilize the business, it has become clear that too much change would be required to restructure it, and the continued funding requirements would be far in excess of amounts that the Group considers to be viable,” Frasers Group said in a statement provided to Fashionista. “In light of this, Frasers has been informed that the directors of Matches have taken the decision to put the Matches group into administration. Frasers remains committed to the luxury market and its brand partners.”

Generally, an administration process can either lead to a restructuring to make a business viable, or liquidation and total closure. Given the above statement, Matches will presumably undergo the latter.

Upon announcing the acquisition, Matches and Frasers told Business of Fashion last December that Matches CEO Nick Beighton, who joined in 2022 (its fourth CEO in as many years), would be “working closely with the Frasers team to develop a strategy to successfully build on the underlying strength of the business whilst rapidly unlocking synergies.” It’s unclear if and how Beighton is involved currently.

Founded in 1987 by Tom and Ruth Chapman, Matches started as a brick-and-mortar store and went on to become a major player in global luxury e-commerce, carrying more than 500 top designers, from Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and The Row to Saks Potts, Co and Reformation. Its closure underscores the many challenges facing designer retail today, from growing costs and difficulties around customer acquisition to discount-happy competitors and brands choosing to focus more on their own direct retail channels.

Recently, industry headlines have been dominated by shifts in this sector, from the many questions around Farfetch’s future following its acquisition by Coupang to reports of financial struggles at Saks.

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