Flash sale site Rue La La said on Monday that it will buy rival Gilt from department store chain Hudson’s Bay as it seeks to fortify its presence in the world of online discount luxury.
A post shared by Gilt.com (@gilt) on Jun 2, 2018 at 7:32am PDT
Hudson’s Bay, which operates Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor among other chains, bought Gilt for US$250 million in 2016, and created Gilt shops inside its discount chain Saks Off Fifth. At the time, Hudson’s Bay touted the deal as a way to rev up its online engine, but it failed to deliver a big benefit.
The terms of Monday’s deal were not immediately disclosed.
The new company will be called Rue Gilt Groupe, though Rue La La and Gilt will still operate their sites independently. The combined company expects to reach about US$1 billion in sales with a total of 20 million customers.
A post shared by Rue La La (@ruelala) on Jun 3, 2018 at 11:00am PDT
Rue La La is owned by privately held Philadelphia-based e-commerce company Kynetic, which also owns Fanatics and ShopRunner.
In a phone interview, Michael Rubin, executive chairman of Rue La La and founder of Kynetic, said the two businesses complement each other, though Gilt caters to a higher-income shopper.
Each site gets about 60 per cent of its sales from mobile devices. Rubin noted that there’s only a 15 per cent overlap in customers but most of the sites’ suppliers are the same. The combined company will be able to have more power to negotiate better prices and better quality of goods, he said.
A post shared by Gilt.com (@gilt) on May 25, 2018 at 9:03am PDT
The plan is to merge Gilt’s distribution centre with Rue La La’s, both of which are based in Lexington, Kentucky. Rubin also said he believes the combined company will do an even better job in personalising offers to shoppers.
“I believe there is huge growth ahead, focused on digital,” Rubin said.
A post shared by Gilt.com (@gilt) on May 23, 2018 at 4:34pm PDT
He said he expects to hire more than 150 workers to run the Gilt business in New York, Boston, Kentucky and other sites across the country.
In a statement, Hudson’s Bay said the move will allow it to “focus time and resources on growth drivers that will have the greatest impact on our results”.