Nordstrom Buying Flash Sale Site HauteLook

Nordstrom announced Feb. 18 it will acquire flash sale
site HauteLook in a transaction valued
at $270 million.

Flash sale sites typically offer heavily discounted
branded merchandise for a limited time. HauteLook, founded in 2007, claims four
million members, and its CEO told The New
York Times
it expected to top $100 million in sales in 2010.

Under the deal with Nordstrom, HauteLook will operate as an
independent, wholly-owned subsidiary and retain its current management.
The HauteLook brand and website will remain separate from Nordstrom.

The acquisition will cost Nordstrom $180 million in stock,
with a portion subject to ongoing vesting requirements. The transaction also
includes a three-year earn-out of up to $90 million in Nordstrom stock.

“The acquisition will build on Nordstrom’s success in
multi-channel retailing,” said a company statement. “Recently, these efforts
have included implementing an enterprise-wide inventory management system,
increasing its Direct business capabilities and integrating its online and
store presence to provide customers with a seamless experience.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of
2011 and is subject to customary regulatory and shareholder approvals.

JCK profiled flash sale sites and
their possible impact on the jewelry industry in
May 2010.

The announcement of the acquisition
came as Nordstrom released its fourth quarters and full-year financial
. Nordstrom’s multi-channel same-store sales increased 7.2 percent
for the fourth quarter, with jewelry cited as a top performer.

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