June 21, 2011, 2:05 PM

New cash to help CSN rebrand

The home goods and furniture retailer has raised $165 million from four investors.

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CSN Stores LLC, the parent company for CSNStores.com and 200 niche sites that include Cookware.com and BedroomFurniture.com, today said it has raised $165 million from four private equity and venture capital firms. The privately held e-retailer says it will use the funds to help it rebrand as Wayfair.com, expand internationally and buy other online companies.

The e-retailer, No. 51 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, says this marks the first time the company has sought outside funding and that the four investment groups will each be represented on CSN’s board. CSN says the investors will play an active role in CSN’s future, which may include going public in four or five years. The investors include Battery Ventures, which has investments in e-retailer SendTheTrend.com and mobile application vendor Digby. Spark Capital, HarbourVest Partners and Great Hill Partners also provided funding.

CSN Stores says it will begin to transfer most of its properties to Wayfair.com, which it says is a more memorable name than CSN Stores, in July or August. NetShops, an online retailer that operates 220 niche e-commerce sites, made a similar decision two years ago, rebranding itself as Hayneedle.

Calling Wayfair.com a megasite, the home goods and furniture e-retailer says it will spend some of the funding to promote the Wayfair.com brand, an effort that will last into 2012. CSN’s recently launched flash-sale site, JossandMain.com, and its designer furniture site, AllModern.com, will remain as separate brands.

The e-retailer says it also plans to use the funding to expand internationally. The company already operates in Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. CSN also will add products, and perhaps other e-retailers, to its lineup. “The funding will support appropriate acquisitions of other Internet companies specializing in categories that would benefit CSN,” the company says.

CSN Stores says it grew more than 50% from 2009 to 2010 and that the company had sales of $380 million last year. It says sales during the first quarter of 2011 were up 56% from the same quarter a year ago. CSN has 800 employees and estimates it may hire another 200 workers by years’ end.

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