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South African e-commerce Fashion retailer RunwaySale gets big Investor Boost

Posted On : June 1, 2020

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A South African e-commerce fashion retailer has received a vote of confidence from an international private equity firm, which has invested R100-million into the business.

RunwaySale, which operates out of Cape Town, received the funding from SPEAR Capital which invests in consumer-based businesses supported by the spending of the African middle class. It has offices in Scandinavia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Exclusive Online Shopping Society

RunwaySale positions itself as an ‘exclusive online shopping society’ – a members-only private online shopping club. It offers 300-plus high-end fashion brands to an exclusive community of shoppers who check the site, mobile app and social media platforms daily in order to take advantage of the latest offers.

Explaining how the Runway Sale business model works in an interview with The Money Show, co-founder and CEO Karl Hammerschmidt said: “We obviously have a lower cost base to work against, so we can pass value on to the consumer and our various brand partners… at the end of the day it helps them to earn revenue… it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Sells Designer Brands At Discounted Prices

Founded in 2012 by the husband-and-wife team of Karl and Elmien, who is now the COO, RunwaySale describes itself as South Africa’s largest such shopping club. It notes on its website that it “sells designer brands at discount prices by hosting flash events”. It claims its prices may be discounted by up to 70%.

“E-commerce accounts for one percent of all retail in South Africa and, even before the coronavirus pandemic, was set to grow exponentially,” said Karl. “The synergies between the SPEAR Capital team and our own gives us the confidence and practical support we need to develop RunwaySale into a leading player in the local and regional e-commerce market.”

Former Tj Maxx Executive Appointed As Advisor

As part of this new partnership, Christophe Gaigneux, who was online chief executive for the European division of American department store chain TJ Maxx, has been appointed to the RunwaySale advisory board.

“The potential for e-commerce to contribute meaningfully to the local economy has never been greater and RunwaySale will be key to meeting the demand we know is building up in consumers across all demographics in South Africa,” Gaigneux is quoted as saying by Business Tech.

Content courtesy of The South African 

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