EBay buys online fashion site

Bay is buying German fashion shopping club brands4friends for around $200 million, in a move it says is aimed at stengthening its fashion credentials in Europe.

Brands4friends sells cut-price fashion and lifestyle goods to its 3.5 million members in Germany. It claims more than 600 top brands, including Buffalo, Calvin Klein and Diesel. It employs around 200 people and is headquartered in Berlin.

As part of the deal, eBay will assume brands4friends’ equity interests in UK shopping club SecretSales.com and Japan’s brands4friends.jp.

“With the acquisition of brands4friends, we will enter the online shopping club market with an established and dynamic partner who has the expertise, relationships and passion to match our own ambition,” said Doug McCallum, senior vice president for eBay in Europe.

“We expect many eBay customers will enjoy great deals on international fashion brands by joining the brands4friends community.”

EBay says its own research shows that online shopping clubs account for as much as 20 percent of online fashion sales in Europe.

Over the last 18 months, eBay’s made a bit of a push into the European fashion business, opening the eBay Outlet in the UK and Germany for direct purchases from leading fashion brands. It’s also signed up partners for flash sales and Daily Deals and launched a global Fashion iPhone app.

“EBay is the perfect partner for us,” said Sergio Dias, CEO of brands4friends. “We are able to bring our retail and brand competence and industry knowledge to eBay, and we can expect to benefit from eBay’s traffic and ecommerce experience to accelerate the growth of our shopping community.”