eBay Enters Fashion Market With $200 Million Purchase of German Brand

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When you think “online clothing outlets,” eBay may not be the first place that springs to mind, but if the San Jose-based company has anything to say about it, that’ll soon change. The company announced this morning that it had acquired the European company brands4friends, which describes itself as “Germany’s largest online shopping club for fashion and lifestyle” for $200 million as part of a plan to build itself into a leading online fashion destination.

The move sounds somewhat odd until you learn that such “online shopping clubs” now account for 20% of online fashion sales in Europe, and that the deal also includes interests in similar clubs in Britain and Japan. Even so, eBay is just playing one-up with Amazon, which purchased competing shopping club BuyVIP.com in October for somewhere close to $100 million. No news as yet when US versions of either brands4friends or BuyVIP will launch, but it’s only a matter of time. After all, who really wants to say that they bought their latest outfit from eBay?

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