“Flash” sale alert as OzSale snaps up Buyinvite

Online shopping club OzSale has acquired its competitor Buyinvite as part of a “rapid expansion” plan.

 OzSale was named one of SmartCompany‘s top 20 online retailers this year and currently receives eight million visits a month to its website. It has five million members, with an item being sold every five seconds.

The invitation-only shopping site was founded in January 2007 by Jamie Jackson and sells heavily discounted, designer-label clothing (usually imported) through short “flash” sales that last for three or four days.

Jackson told SmartCompany the Buyinvite purchase boosts OzSale’s visit numbers to 9.5 million with sites in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

“We are looking at rapid expansion in the South East Asia region now and we are really focused on expanding aggressively into South East Asia and China, with openings in the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea and China,” says Jackson.

“Buying Buyinvite locks us in to dominate the Australia and New Zealand landscape. We are now way out in front in number one position in this local environment.”

Jackson will not disclose the price paid for Buyinvite. He says OzSale now owns the company “100%” and will retain Buyinvite’s staff and management team.

“We feel that their management and buyers have a skill set that we saw a value in, so we are keeping the whole team on,” says Jackson.

“It complements us in a few ways: The management that we are inheriting, Ben Hollenstein and Stephen Coles, the founders of Buyinvite, have done an incredible job in taking it to where it is in a short space of time, so we see them as key to our operation.

“It will trade alongside what it is currently doing. We are not changing that, but it will have the benefit of logistics from us and our marketing.”

Jackson says there is huge growth potential in the Australian and South East Asian online retail market.

“The market will continue to grow. If you look at the environment in the United States and the United Kingdom, we are still 50% behind them, so we know there is room for an enormous uplift in Australia and New Zealand,” he says.

“The current statistics on online growth are so aggressive that we feel we can overtake them.”

Jackson says in comparison to the US and UK, Australia does not have the same quality of high street shops, and city centres are not easily accessible to many regions in Australia.

“In Australia and New Zealand, I think the online retail spend can supersede 20% of all retail,” he says.

Buyinvite founder Hollenstein said the company had been in discussions with OzSale for six months before the purchase.

“The online space is fast-paced and competition is increasing; now is the right time to build upon our foundations and leverage OzSale’s infrastructure and scale across all of its core markets.”

Meanwhile, top online retailer DealsDirect has appointed Michael McRitchie as its new chief executive, and Linda Barrett as its head of buying.

McRitchie was previously the managing director of stock exchange listed Centrebet, spending seven years with the company after his initial appointment as chief financial officer, in which he oversaw the transition from private company through an initial public offering and eventually to a trade sale to Sportingbet in 2011.

Barrett has “decades” of retail experience in companies including Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Sleep City, Everyday Living, Spotlight, Freedom and Harvey Norman.



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