Zalando's Samwer brothers are certain: their e-tailer will soon take the crown from big players such as Zara, H&M and Ikea. With that ambition the Samwers, who helped Zalando to grow through their 'incubator' Rocket Internet and who still hold 38% of the e-tailer's shares, are trying to convince investors.
Resounding names and big promises
Oliver, Marc and Alexander Samwer are on the prowl for money - lots of money. In that search they are not afraid to drop names to potential investors of big companies that already have a participation in Rocket Internet or one of the derived companies: according to their claims they include Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk and Colombian beer tycoon Alejandro Santo Domingo.
The Samwers are not only throwing around big names, but are also juggling with high returns on invested funds: at least ten percent within three to five years. To realise this, the brothers have launched spin-offs of Zalando on different continents and they have copied other successful e-commerce companies.
Their predictions are not conservative: sales of Brazilian Zalando-sister Dafiti should be twenty times higher by 2016 and reach two billion euro. Sales of Russian brother Lamoda, about 45 million euro last year, should by then be a staggering 1.5 billion dollar. The Amazon copy that was recently launched in Latin-America under the name Linio, has to generate more than 250 million euro of sales by 2016.
The profits of Zalando though are not on par with the ambitions of the company. Despite rising sales Zalando made a loss of ninety million in 2012. The online furniture shop Home24 alone had to swallow a loss of forty million euro, according to German Manager magazine, that had the opportunity to see confidential documents.