April 28, 2008, 12:00 AM

E-commerce company raises $25 million and plans launch of member-only site

Retail Convergence early this year bought SmartBargains.com, a site that offers off-price apparel and other merchandise. The company is preparing to launch a new, members-only site, RueLaLa.com, which will feature two-day sales of upscale women’s wear.

Retail Convergence Inc., a newly formed e-commerce company with two online properties that sell women’s apparel, has raised $25 billion in capital. Investors include New England Development, Breakaway Ventures, Mugar Enterprises and General Catalyst Partners.

The company earlier this year acquired SmartBargains.com, a site that offers off-price apparel and other merchandise. SmartBargains ranks No. 88 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide The company is preparing to launch a new, members-only site, RueLaLa.com, which will feature scheduled two-day sales of upscale women’s wear at discount prices. Consumers must be invited by existing members, the company says.

The company plans to take advantage of its store of data on more than 3 million consumers who have shopped at SmartBargains.com since 2000. “Retail Convergence will provide new channels and opportunities for both brands and consumers,” says CEO Ben Fischman.“By leveraging an existing database of more than 3 million qualified e-commerce shoppers, Retail Convergence will be a leader in offering brands new opportunities to connect with consumers and engage in online commerce.”

“Brands are looking for innovative ways to reach consumers and consumers are demanding more engaging ways to shop online,” says Dennis Baldwin, managing partner of Breakaway Ventures, one of the investors in Retail Convergence, and former chief marketing officer at sports apparel maker Reebok International. “By providing an exciting new shopping experience while vigorously protecting the integrity of our partner brands, Retail Convergence will elevate the ecommerce experience for everyone.”

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