April 12, 2012, 10:40 AM

Nordstrom invests in apparel e-retailer Bonobos

The chain’s stores will sell Bonobos’ line of fashionable men’s clothing.

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Nordstrom Inc. said today it had led a $16 million investment round in Bonobos Inc., and will sell apparel from the web-only retailer on both Nordstrom.com and inside 20 Nordstrom department stores.

Nordstrom is No. 34 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Bonobos is No. 789 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide. Bonobos, which launched in 2007, had sold only pants, but now offers shirts, blazers, suits, sweaters and other types of clothing.

The deal with Nordstrom marks the first time that Bonobos products will be available anyplace but the company’s e-commerce site and New York City showroom. Nordstrom will sell the e-retailer’s two top product lines—washed chinos and trousers branded as Bonobos Weekday Warriors—along with seasonal pants and shorts.

“Partnering with retail legend Nordstrom was an easy decision,” says Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos.  “We understand there are people who still want to touch and feel clothing before they purchase. We realized we needed help expanding beyond our web-only roots.”

The funding round led by Nordstrom also included venture capital firms Accel Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

The Bonobos deals marks at least the second time Nordstrom has deepened its involvement in with smaller online retailers of fashionable apparel. Just more than a year ago, the department store chain bought HauteLook, which offers online private sales of fashion and lifestyle products. HauteLook is No. 156 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

At the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in June, several sessions will deal with e-commerce and retail chains. Among those sessions will be the keynote address by William Lynch Jr., CEO of Barnes & Noble, entitled “How the web has become the engine that drives retailing.” 

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