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November 2007

March 2011

3.0x / 41% IRR


Frankfurt, Germany


Online fashion retailer

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Business at time of investment

Dress-for-less was one of Europe’s leading on-line designer fashion outlets, selling primarily end-of-season apparel from over 250 designer labels, including Tommy Hilfiger, Ben Sherman, Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana, to consumers in 40 countries via the internet. The Company was headquartered in Flörsheim, Germany and had 67 employees.

Investment rationale

Increased internet usage was forecast to drive 20% per annum growth across all categories of on-line retail, with the apparel sub-segment, which includes clothing, footwear and accessories, exhibiting particularly rapid growth. The segment was worth €14 billion in 2006 and expected to grow at 15 - 40% over the following five years. DFL was well positioned to take advantage of the trend, with strong relationships with leading brands and an efficient logistics model. Palamon’s objective was to create a leading pan-European on line apparel retailer by working with management to improve customer acquisition and retention, focusing DFL’s activities on certain key markets in Europe, and expanding the Company’s supplier relationships.

Value creation

  • Strengthened management team: Recruited a COO, CFO and Commercial Director to complement the existing management team.
  • Diversified the business:
    • Rapidly expanded pan-European sales
    • Secured additional in-demand suppliers such as Diesel, G-Star, Lee Jeans and Wrangler
    • Launched new internet shops for leading fashion brands
    • Launched full-price multi-brand on-line shops; and
  • Focused on customer satisfaction and retention
    • Developed a customer segmentation methodology which allowed the business to improve customer experience
    • Upgraded logistics and moved to a larger warehouse close to Frankfurt in 2008 to facilitate rapid growth and enable best-in-class customer delivery

Company at exit

During the hold period DFL doubled sales in Germany and quadrupled revenues stemming from other regions and its full-price offerings. The company, which achieved revenue CAGR of 36% per annum, was headquartered in Kelsterbach just outside Frankfurt and had 150 employees.


On 30 March 2011 Palamon sold its shareholding in DFL to Privalia Venta Directa, a leading on-line sale club for fashion brands. The transaction generated a 3.0x return on invested capital and 41% IRR.