Farfetch CEO José Neves took the e-tailer public in 2018, raising $844 million in its IPO but its spending habits have raised questions and recently led to publisher Conde Nast pulling its $300 million investment in the company.
New York—Condé Nast has ditched its nearly $300 million stake in luxury fashion e-tailer Farfetch over concerns about its management, according to a report by U.K. newspaper The Times.

The publisher reportedly was concerned about the amount of money the platform, which sells jewelry, clothing, shoes and accessories from various brands and boutiques online, was spending on marketing.

Though its sales climbed 56 percent to £475 million ($594 million) last year, losses widened to £122.7 million ($153 million).

Condé Nast is not the first to call out Farfetch over its spending habits.

Analysts and various reports had predicted, correctly, that FarFetch would reach a valuation between $5 billion and $6 billion when it made its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2018.

In its IPO, the company sold 44.2 million shares, raising $844 million and bringing its market valuation to around $6.2 billion, as per a CNBC report.

But the $6 billion valuation raised some eyebrows, particularly because of the company’s cash burn rate as well as its inability to turn a profit.

Bloomberg’s Andrea Feldsted wrote an opinion article in April 2018 titled “Farfetch’s Farfetched Valuation” in which she stated that it was “hard to see how the company’s business model can be all that capital light.”

The company’s position as a middleman between boutiques and consumers is a potential draw for investors because the go-between business model means avoiding the expense of holding stock and the risk of getting stuck with unsold merchandise, The Fashion Law explained.

Its revenue stems in part from taking a 25 percent commission per sale from its boutique partners.

Despite its cost-cutting advantages, the company has not yet turned a profit and Alex Wilhelm, editor-in-chief at Crunchbase News, crunched the numbers to determine why.

Simply, it boiled down to Farfetch spending more money than it was making.

In an August 2018 article, Wilhelm wrote that the company’s “cost structure greatly exceeded its gross profit growth in dollar terms.”

He noted that the company’s operating and investing cash burn rates were rising, its after-tax losses were widening, and its EBITDA was becoming more negative.

An early investor in the London-based company, Condé Nast held 6 percent of FarFetch prior to selling its shares.

Condé Nast’s parent company Advance Publications still holds stakes in other retailers—Moda Operandi, Rent the Runway and luxury reseller the Vestiaire Collective, The Fashion Law reported.

Condé Nast Chairman Jonathan Newhouse stepped down from Farfetch’s board in March.

Neither Condé Nast nor Farfetch responded to National Jeweler’s request for comment.

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