x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

$10m more for Jordan online fashion website

An online fashion retailer based in Jordan has attracted US$10 million (Dh36.7m) in funding, which it says it will use to cut delivery times and launch in North Africa.

An online fashion retailer based in Jordan has attracted US$10 million (Dh36.7m) in funding, which it says it will use to cut delivery times and launch in North Africa.

MarkaVIP, which specialises in discounted clothing, says it received the "series B" investment in a deal led by the European venture firm Prime Ventures.

The site describes itself as a "private retail sales club" and offers discounted clothing from brands such as Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren.

It currently ships goods to the GCC, Jordan and Lebanon. Ahmed Al Khatib, the founder and chief executive of MarkaVIP, said it was aiming to expand to Egypt.

"It's a $10m, series B round. The money is in the bank," said Mr Al Khatib, who launched MarkaVIP in November 2010.

"We will use the money to further expand our operation and increase our market share in the region, as well as launch new countries."

The bulk of the new investment will be used to cut delivery times from 21 days to about 10 days, as well as boost the management team, Mr Al Khatib said.

"Most of the money will go to further solidifying our logistics and distribution networks," he said.

The firm has 270 employees and has opened hubs or offices in Jeddah, Madrid and Los Angeles. The $10m investment was led by the Netherlands investment firm Prime Ventures, with participation from Hummingbird Ventures, based in Antwerp, along with existing investors Invus Financial Advisors and Lumia Capital, which are both based in the United States.

It follows a separate $5m funding deal announced in December.

Mr Alkhatib said MarkaVIP was not currently in need of further funding.

"For now, the company is well funded. It's growing very fast. If we continue at the current growth rate, we are definitely on our way to profitability," he said. "So far, we don't need any additional investment."

MarkaVIP claims to have 1.5 million registered users and Mr Al Khatib said it was adding between 5,000 and 10,000 users a day.

The invitation-only site offers discounted goods for a limited period of time and features many brands that do not have a presence in the Middle East.

According to the research firm Euromonitor, consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt spent $1.01 billion on internet retail sites last year.

That is forecast to grow to $2.09bn by 2016.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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