Zalando has announced plans to list a stake in the business in hopes of raising more than 500 million euros to fund further expansion. As Hayley Platt reports the online fashion player is now the biggest in Europe.
It began selling shoes just five years years. Now Germany's Zalando is Europe's biggest online fashion retailer. It employs 7,000 people and supplies 1500 brands to 15 European countries, including Spain, Italy and Switzerland. It now plans to raise more than 500 million euros from an IPO for further expansion, possibly as early as this month. It wants to list a stake of 10-11 percent on Frankfurt's stock exchange. That would value the company at around 4.5 billion euros - making it one of Germany's biggest ever tech flotations. Oliver Roth is a German trader. SOUNDBITE: Oliver Roth, Chief Handler, Close Brothers Seydler Bank, saying (German): "Investors should keep in mind that that company so far did not really earn a profit, at least after taxes. But I think it can make a profit in the long run, especially as the current owners of Zalando have kept almost all of their shares." Zalando has spent heavily on marketing - just last week it launched a new advertising campaign and a new website. It wants to establish its own fashion labels. And use the latest smartphones apps to keep customers coming back. Niklas Reinecke is from Planet Retail. SOUNDBITE: Niklas Reinecke, Retail Analyst, Planet Retail, saying (English): "The retailer could consider going to further markets in Eastern Europe or it could also further its footprint in existing markets, by increasing brand awareness." The listing follows a flurry of similar announcements in e-commerce. China's Alibaba is expected to raise more than $15 billion later this month from one of the biggest ipo's in history. And Rocket Internet, a German venture capital firm, which helped launch Zalando among others, is also said to planning one. Zalando's main rival is Britain's ASOS which largely operates outside mainland Europe. It targets a younger market and has been around much longer, recently becoming the subject of takeover speculation. Zalando laid the ground work for its ipo with its first ever operating profit last week. It now hopes to make many more people aware of it's growing influence in online fashion.