September 12, 2011, 2:43 PM

Bluefly secures more than $6 million in new funding

Investor Rho Ventures now owns 37% of Bluefly.

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Web-only apparel retailer Bluefly Inc. is flying high with a new round of capital.

Bluefly, No. 173 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has raised $6.5 million in funding by issuing a new round of common stock.

The stock was purchased by Bluefly’s biggest investors including Soros Fund Management LLC, Prentice Capital Management LLC and Rho Ventures, which now owns 37% of Bluefly.

Bluefly says it will use the new funding to accelerate sales growth and improve its long-term operating performance. “This additional investment by our largest shareholders demonstrates their confidence in our strategy and our ability to create long-term value for all of our stakeholders,” says Bluefly CEO Melissa Payner.

Bluefly continues to invest in online sales and add to the ranks of senior management. In June Bluefly hired Joseph Bank as chief operating officer. Bank was previously employed as senior vice president of consumer digital products at book publisher HarperCollins.

In January Bluefly also partnered with A+D Labs, an eyewear design and manufacturing firm, to launch a new eyewear e-commerce site in the spring called Eyefly.com. Bluefly owns 52% of the operation and A+D 48%.

But Bluefly continues to lose money. For the first six months ended June 30:

  • Sales increased by 12.3% to $45.7 million, from $40.7 million in the prior year period.
  • Net loss was $2.3 million compared to $2.2 million for the first two quarters of 2010.
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