Mr. Chapman said the company’s current chief executive, Ulric Jerome, and chief financial officer, Fiona Greiner, would stay on with the goal of “driving Matchesfashion.com to become the number-one luxury fashion commerce company in the world.”
The Chapmans began their business as Matches, a single, high-end, multibrand boutique in London’s upscale Wimbledon neighborhood. As the first such retailer in Britain to sell Prada, Versace, Ferré and Dolce & Gabbana, they realized after the financial crisis in 2008 that the future of their business — and their route to global expansion — was online. The company rebranded as Matchesfashion.com in 2013, after hiring Mr. Jerome as chief executive.
Now based in the Shard skyscraper in London and with a staff of 500, the group offers customers in 176 countries an array of products from over 450 established and emerging designers via a website, an app and three physical stores in London. The company said in March that it had made a total of 587,000 sales in the 12 months that ended on Jan. 31, with an average value of £511, and now offers a 90-minute delivery service in London.
Matchesfashion.com’s sales revenue is still smaller than that of competitors like Yoox Net-a-Porter and FarFetch. But the group has gained considerable cachet in recent years as the preferred shopping choice for industry insiders, and for offering a highly desirable selection of elite brands and exclusive collaborations at a time when wealthy consumers are increasingly turning to retailers for products that few others have.
The group reported record full-year results, with revenue up 61 percent, to £204 million; its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose about sixfold, to more than £19 million.
Apax’s acquisition of its stake is to be finalized in the year’s fourth quarter. The deal comes in an increasingly volatile shopping environment for retailers online and off, where long-term survival is dictated by anticipating and catering to consumers’ desires (often before they even know what they want). Competition in the online luxury market has been particularly…