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Bargain hunting easy in cyber boutiques

Big fashion world under one URL

From CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney

Yoox sells last season's designer clothing online, offering a cheaper option to what is inside the shops.
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Electronic Commerce

BOLOGNA, Italy (CNN) -- If you waited for the holiday sales to begin before buying that pricey designer fashion item you had your eye on all season, you are behind the times.

E-tailing is making a mark on the clothes shopping scene, and Italian online designer retailer Yoox is one of the biggest names in the business.

The Bologna-based company specializes in chic -- the difference between it and its competitors is that Yoox is selling last season's chic, and price tags reflect that.

Yoox has more than 300 designer labels for customers from 28 countries to chose from.

Founder Federico Marchetti, a former banker and now Yoox chief executive, told CNN he had a vision for selling luxury fashion items on the Internet.

"In my mind, I thought that the Internet was probably the best way to catch -- in terms of getting some money -- a kind of a democracy of money (and) fashion," he said.

The company, which has staff throughout the world, has been operating since 2000, surviving both the boom and the bust of the Internet.

These days, Yooxexternal link gets more than two million page views a day.

Marchetti said the key to his company's success was bringing the world's best designers together in one place, and introducing customers from all over the globe to their business.

"The Japanese can buy UK designers; the UK people can buy Japanese designers. The Chinese, maybe, in the future. Who knows?" He said.

"We can get the best U.S. designers; the Italians from Sicily can get the French ones. It's one world fashion."

Marchetti said Yoox was very user-friendly, enabling customers to browse all the products, mix and match their personal choices and see what they would look like together, adding any accessories they might have chosen.

All orders are dispatched at a warehouse in the Italian headquarters. Each item is tagged with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, and is tracked to its exact location using a barcode detector.

Last year Yoox's revenue totaled $26 million dollars, with the U.S. market now making up 30 percent of its annual turnover.

Marchetti said he hoped the company's plans to continue expanding internationally would ensure the company a permanent place in the online world.

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