May 13, 2013, 12:29 PM

New players, big growth

Three new Top 500 apparel and accessories retailers average 168% web sales growth.

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The combined sales of Zulily Inc., JustFab.com and JimmyJazz.com account for a small portion of total apparel and accessories category sales in the just-released 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide at just over 2%. However, the average web sales growth for the three retailers—all new to the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide—between 2011 and 2012 is a whopping 168.1%. That makes the retailers the top three newcomers in terms of year-over-year online sales growth in the apparel and accessories category in this year’s Top 500 Guide.

Take Zulily, No. 77 in the Top 500 Guide and No. 18 among the 136 retailers in the apparel and accessories category. Its sales account for 1.57% of apparel and accessory sales in the Top 500 Guide and it posted 2012 online sales of $399.8 million, according to Internet Retailer estimates, up an estimated 166.5% from $150 million a year earlier.

Infusions of cash over the past two years helped spur sales growth at Zulily. The retailer raised $85 million in a Series D funding round in November. That came on the heels of other substantial investments, including a $43 million investment in August 2011. Since its launch in January 2010, the retailer has raised $138.6 million.

It has used the cash to beef up mobile commerce and marketing, and hire more staff. In November, the retailer launched an app for Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet.  Around 30% of purchases stemmed from mobile devices at the time of the app launch, the company said.

Posting even more impressive year-over-year sales growth is JustFab.com, No. 201 in the Top 500 Guide, No. 64 among apparel and accessories retailers, and accounting for .39% of apparel and accessory sales. It sold $100 million worth of goods online last year, up 257.1% over 2011 sales of $28 million.

JustFab got its start in 2010 selling goods online via subscriptions. For $39.95 a month, JustFab offers members items tailored to their tastes. JustFab sends members monthly e-mails describing the items the retailer is offering. Shoppers visit the site and can make their selections by the fifth of each month. They can also skip any month as long as they notify the retailer by the fifth of the month. 

In April 2012, however, it year shifted its business model from selling only shoes via subscriptions to a hybrid model that enables non-subscribers to pay a premium to purchase shoes and more on JustFab.com. Despite the shift, 99.5% of the site’s business came from subscribers last year the company says. The retailer also raised $76 million in July. That followed a $33 million funding round in September 2011. In the future, JustFab wants to add more types of products, including home décor, says the company’s co-CEO Adam Goldenberg.

Next up is streetwear retailer JimmyJazz.com, No. 430 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide and No. 123 in the apparel and accessories category. Its 2012 web sales totaled $26.27 million, up 80.6% from $14.55 million a year earlier. Its sales accounted for .10% of Top 500 apparel and accessory retail sales. That growth helped the retailer move from No. 511 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide into a position in the Top 500.

The sales growth comes on the heels of even stronger growth in 2011 in percentage terms. That year, the second full year of operation for JimmyJazz.com, the retailer grew web sales 259% from $4.05 million to $14.54 million. The retailer says a new ad retargeting service from vendor FetchBack, e-mail campaigns to bring shoppers back who abandoned their carts, daily deals and starting to sell on such online marketplaces as eBay and Amazon all attributed to its sales growth in 2012.

To read previous Top 500 Insider stories, click here.

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