February 1, 2012, 11:57 AM

Dillard’s invests $4 million in an e-commerce company, seeking e-retail expertise

Acumen Brands operates a dozen specialty sites, including TopSlugger.com.

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Regional department store chain Dillard’s Inc. announced today that it has invested $4 million in Acumen Brands Inc., an e-commerce company that operates 12 specialty shops online. Dillard’s says it will tap into Acumen’s technology and marketing services expertise to help enhance Dillards.com, No. 136 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.   

“We are excited to partner with Acumen Brands, underscoring our continuing commitment to the growth of Dillards.com,” says Alex Dillard, Dillard’s president. “We look forward to collaborating with this highly talented team as we further develop our online presence.” Dillard’s generated $120 million in online sales in 2010, according to the Top 500 Guide. 

Among Acumen Brands’ specialty e-retail sites are TrailsEdge.com, which sells camping and outdoor gear; TopSlugger.com, which sells baseball equipment and apparel; and HecticGourmet.com, which sells cookware and small kitchen appliances. All the sites operate on an e-commerce platform built in-house by Acumen Brands. Site operations and fulfillment are handled from Acumen Brands’ headquarters in Fayetteville, AR. 

Acumen Brands collected an additional $1 million from existing investors during this funding round. Dillard’s executive in charge of information technology and e-commerce, Kent Burnett, will join Acumen’s board as part of Dillard’s $4 million investment. Acumen Brands launched in 2009 and has 70 employees.

Dillard’s operates about 300 department stores in 29 states.

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