OneStopPlus and Castaluna Europe merge
European plus-size e-commerce is losing one player while another one of its rank is getting a boost. The Redcats Group is merging its two plus-size fashion websites, Castaluna and OneStopPlus Europe. As of Wednesday, November 7, visitors to the European version of the U.S. e-commerce site are being redirected to Castaluna.com. The original American site OneStopPlus, owned by the separate entity Redcats USA, was launched in 2006 and will continue to operate for the U.S. market.
In France, Redcats decided to keep the name of Castaluna and incorporate OneStopPlus's more advanced business platform. The sites' teams are also being merged and both units will gradually be combined into one, initially grouping together 150 brands that will expand to 200 by the first half of 2013. The move essentially fuses the more commercial product line of the OneStopPlus European division with Castaluna's more upscale approach. With this enhanced version, the site hopes to pass the mile marker of one million unique monthly visitors in ten European countries where it operates.
But Castaluna will still be led by the head of OneStopPlus Europe, Antoine Menet. Castulana.com founders Nica Stapel and Giorgia Tedeschi launched the site in 2009 and continued to run it after the Redcats acquisition in 2010, but left the company this past summer.
"This merger is quite logical since it will allow us to focus all our efforts on one platform rather than on two in the same niche," said Menet. "The idea is to bring out the best of both sites — the visionary name and fashion forward positioning of Castaluna combined with the structure and diversity of OneStopPlus. The dynamism of the two sites makes them more like three, reminding us that a strong player has great potential," he added.
In any event, the site merger is occurring under circumstances that are far from business as usual. The PPR group has initiated efforts to sell off parts of Redcats and has already retained investment bank Peter J. New York Solomon for the sale of Redcats USA and with it, the original OneStopPlus. However, Antoine Menet said that the decision to merge the two websites "is completely independent." Regarding the French e-commerce division, the effort to find efficiency and appeal as shown by this merger can undoubtedly be an advantage in the early stages of a potential sale.
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