Nine West Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and will restructure around its profitable and growing businesses, including One Jeanswear Group, The Jewelry Group, The Kasper Group and Anne Klein. The retailer received a $300 million loan from investors to fund operations during the process.
The bankruptcy process will facilitate the sale of the Nine West and Bandolino footwear and handbag business. Authentic Brands Group will submit an initial bid, and a competitive auction for the business will follow.
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Nine West Holdings and its creditors are nearing a deal to restructure approximately $1.5 billion in debt, according to a report from Bloomberg. As part of the reorganization, Nine West would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and sell off divisions of its business. The goal is for Nine West to file for bankruptcy before a March 15 interest payment, the report said.
Nine West and its private equity owner Sycamore Partners have declined to comment on the report. The retailer doesn’t have any debt due until 2019, but by then it will have to refinance roughly $1 billion.
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Retail-focused private equity firm Sycamore Partners has made the winning bid for The Limited Stores‘ brand name and e-Commerce business. Both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal quote sources familiar with the matter, although neither the retailer nor Sycamore Partners has confirmed the sale or the reported $26.75 million purchase price. The deal is subject to the approval of a bankruptcy court judge on Feb. 23.
Earlier this year, The Limited shuttered all 250 of its brick-and-mortar stores, laying off 4,000 employees in the process. The closings and bankruptcy filing followed headquarters layoffs in December 2016. At that time, a letter to employees revealed that the chain would shut down if it couldn’t find a buyer, due to a combination of missed sales targets and debt obligations of approximately $100 million.
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Qubit, the digital experience management company that recently helped Nine West boost its email collection by 225%, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division led the investment, with additional funding from Sapphire Ventures and previous investors Accel and Salesforce Ventures.
The funding will allow Qubit to more than double its engineering capability and help continue its growth trajectory, which includes retailer clients such as Journelle and Bebe.
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Sometimes the simplest solutions yield the most impressive results. Footwear retailer Nine West was able to increase the number of new web site visitors providing their email addresses by 225%, simply by having a “15% off initial purchase” promotional message “follow” these users throughout their entire browsing session.
In addition to fattening Nine West’s stock of customer emails, the tactic also boosted online conversion rates by 8%, said Ryan Butterworth, Director of Web Analytics and Optimization, Nine West. The retailer used an email-matching API to ensure site visitors didn’t game the system by providing fake addresses just to get the discount. Butterworth spoke at a Customer Experience seminar sponsored by Qubit in New York City earlier this month.
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Omnichannel has been a strategic focus and investment for many retailers over the past three years. While some retailers are currently building and refining their strategies, shoe brand Nine West has been a long-term omnichannel activist and proven success story.
In fact, Nine West kicked off its omnichannel initiatives in 2008, when it began building a ship-from-store strategy. Since then, the brand has acquired a unified view of product inventory and implemented a series of successful initiatives, including a save-the-sale strategy and inventory lookup capabilities for in-store associates.
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Consumers consider a multitude of factors while shopping for shoes: Overall style, color and fit, among others. While some consumers prefer to browse and buy in stores, online shoppers seek the same level of service and education while searching online.
Footwear retailer Nine West has seen a substantial increase in conversions, as well as an improvement in customer satisfaction since implementing the LiveEngage solution from LivePerson. Click-to-Chat buttons are located on the footer the e-Commerce site, on product pages and in the shopping cart are of the site. Proactive live chat invitations also are delivered to high-impact customers who are ready to buy.
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