Tesco’s online fashion store is launching this autumn, and Venda has won the lucrative contract to become its e-commerce partner.

Tesco’s move into the world of online fashion comes after excellent recession-busting growth from the likes of ASOS, which the supermarket giant has squarely in its sights. 

Initial reports suggested that the Tesco venture would focus on the retailer’s own-brand products, but it is thought that third party brands will be introduced next year. 

Tesco will immediately concentrate on promoting its own labels, and while some commentators suggest it won’t compete in the same space, insiders are bullish. This is Tesco, after all.

A source told me: “The expectations are as you would expect: aggressive. Tesco wants to go head to head with ASOS”.

It won’t be easy. ASOS is one of the darlings of the pureplay online retailing world, and recently doubled annual pre-tax profits to £14.1m on revenue of £165m. It attracts more than 5m unique visitors a month and adds 1,000 product lines a week.

Then again, Tesco’s multichannel reach is second to none, and it has very deep pockets. A source added:

“It is definitely possible in a short timescale, given the current level of traffic, the opportunity to target customers through the stores, the 8m strong clubcard database and the growth of Tesco Direct.”

The key is going to be the breadth of its range and how well its buyers do. Selling own-brand products will not appeal to the discerning fashionista. If it wants to compete seriously in this space then it must attract lots of third party brands. Next year, labels such as Firetrap, Fred Perry and Ben Sherman are expected to be sold via the Tesco online fashion store.

And what of the brand name? It is unconfirmed, but the Tesco online clothing store may well be called TescoClothing. That URL is showing as ‘under construction’. Perhaps a coincidence.

The Tesco site will be powered by the Venda platform, allowing it to scale up quickly, reducing the time to market and allowing the retailer to reduce the amount of investment needed to make the new store a reality.

Venda Founder and Chairman Dan Wagner says Tesco’s selection of Venda’s software as a service platform “illustrates how outsourced on-demand e-commerce solutions have now come of age”. He added: “We look forward to helping them achieve the significant scale that they are planning for their online fashion business.”

As well as Tesco, Venda powers e-commerce websites operated by Laura Ashley, Universal Music, TK Maxx, DeBeers and Urban Outfitters.

Venda has been linked with an IPO recently and is currently keeping an eye on the market and speaking with investment banks.