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Natalie Massenet, Founder and chairman, Net-a-Porter

Luxury brands are waking up to the power of the internet and more of them than ever are launching their own transactional websites.

However, etail pioneer Natalie Massenet has a tight grip on this market, with the etailer she founded, Net-a-Porter, offering a superior online experience to its competitors with magazine-style content that keeps its loyal customers coming back for more and increasing their spend with each visit – the average transaction is now in excess of £600.

Sales rose 48% to £55.2 million for the year ended February 2 and profits leapt 42% to £3m. Massenet has plans to open up Net-a-Porter to more international markets and to launch a discount site called Outnet.

A kidswear concept may also be in the offing. The departure of Sven Gaede less than six months after he joined as chief executive means Massenet is firmly back in control of her etail venture, which picked up the Etailer of the Year gong at the Drapers Awards 2008.

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