Nordstrom Buys HauteLook

Two designer sales on HauteLook.

HauteLook, the private flash-sale website, has been acquired by Nordstorm Inc. in a deal valued at $270 million, reports Women's Wear Daily.

Nordstrom is the first retailer to buy a private sale site, though the category, which includes companies like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La, has been booming in the handful of years they’ve been in operation.

“It’s clearly one of the fastest growing ways of shopping. The growth rates are pretty astounding,” Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct, told WWD. “We are a big company. We don’t move as fast as a small startup company as HauteLook. This will help us innovate faster and become nimbler.”

HauteLook devotees needn’t worry about their beloved site changing dramatically or being folded into Nordstrom.com after the merger, though. Adam Bernard, HauteLook’s founder and CEO, will report to Jamie Nordstrom, but the site will not acknowledge the new ownership. “We’re not thinking about integration of systems and capabilities,” Nordstrom said. “We are really thinking about giving the customer more options. We really want HauteLook to focus on its business.”

Since its launch in 2007, HauteLook has attracted about 4 million members, with over 1,000 brands in 2,500 private sales in the last two years alone. Last year, the site generated over $100 million in volume.

“We think this will help us be a better partner with our vendors,” said Bernhard. “It’s a no-brainer. We are going to learn from this amazing retailer.”

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