Chalhoub Group acquires the style of chat-based online threads

London-based luxury marketplace and personalized shopping platform Threads Styling has been acquired by Dubai-based luxury retail and retail giant Chalhoub Group for an undisclosed sum, the company announced on Tuesday.

Originally founded in 2010 as a personal shopping service, Threads Styling has built a global luxury goods retail business through its chat-based commerce service connecting affluent consumers with a network of personal shoppers. internal and external, which currently has more than 200 people.

His curation of trendy products, enviable brand partnerships, and social media savvy have helped him retain high-spending Gen-Z and Millennial consumers. In March this year, it closed a $12 million funding round as it expanded into live shopping events and more traditional e-commerce services.

Threads Styling generated sales of nearly £43.4m (around $46m) in 2020, up 41% on the previous year, according to filings with UK Companies House. The business has grown steadily since then, he said.

The acquisition by Chalhoub will help Threads Styling deepen and expand its presence in the Middle East, already a key market for the company, thanks to Chalhoub’s operational muscle and infrastructure in the region, giving it access to local inventory. Following the acquisition, Threads Styling Founder and Managing Director Sophie Hill will retain her shares in the business and remain its CEO.

Meanwhile, Chalhoub Group stands to benefit from Threads Styling’s digital capabilities for consumer engagement and global reach. “We saw so much potential in the way Threads approaches digital commerce and a new way to inspire and connect with our primary luxury consumer,” said Sharmila Murat, chief investment officer at Chalhoub Group. “We truly believe this is a business that can scale through experience and personal service with supporting technology, both in our region and around the world.”

This acquisition is also an opportunity for Chalhoub Group to stand out from regional competitors such as Al Tayer, another major luxury distributor in the Middle East with a strong e-commerce presence in its Ounass e-tailer. Chalhoub has been an active brand incubator in recent years, investing in local beauty brands in the region and emerging Saudi designers.

The group was also drawn to Threads Styling’s track record of expanding into new product categories like watches and fine jewelry, an area in which it is actively looking to expand.

With this latest investment, the plan is for Threads Styling to deepen its connections with VIP customers and expand the reach of its platform, Murat said. “There will likely be a tiered approach for different types of customers… [bringing in] a broader consumer base,” she said, “without completely moving away from its primary consumer: that young, spendthrift luxury consumer.

These ambitions come against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive luxury e-commerce market, with many players still to prove they can find ways to grow profitably.

Threads Styling is still a relatively small player and has yet to achieve profitability, but it is now underpinned by major market power and a differentiated business model focused on social commerce. Combining that with an inventory-free market model will ease its path to growth, Hill said.

“We believe it’s about giving the customer as many luxury customer experiences as possible,” Hill said, whether through chat, personal shopping, in-person events or her platform. form of e-commerce. “This is how we see our business model moving forward.”