Well, it looks like the rumors are true: After news broke earlier this month that Nordstrom was in talks to acquire the personal shopping service Trunk Club, the department store has announced that the two have in fact done the deed. The startup is coming under Nordstrom's roof.
A Nordstrom rep declined to disclose the financials of the deal, noting that those details will come out on August 14 when the company releases its second quarter earnings.
Trunk Club has built its business on connecting men looking for styling advice with its roster of 250 personal shoppers, who help them select clothing and then ship it to their homes. (Customers try everything on, keep what they like and send back the rest.) According to a release, the site will continue to operate separately from Nordstrom, although it will be "leveraging Nordstrom's capabilities and resources to scale its business" — the suggestion being that the Seattle-based retailer is looking to grow Trunk Club rather than cannibalize its technology for its own customer service offerings. That being said, we imagine Trunk Club will help inform Nordstrom's customer service operations to a degree.
Nordstrom is more engaged in the startup space than most department stores, investing in Bonobos — a player in the same menswear-made-easy space as Trunk Club — and acquiring the flash sales site HauteLook in 2011. And Trunk Club is well in line with Nordstrom's emphasis on customer service, as well as the way it's been directing that focus towards the digital realm. As a study from the research group L2 published Wednesday pointed out, the company has done a nice job equipping its sales associates and dressing rooms with iPads to give its shoppers access to better information on products, faster.
There's also the fact that Trunk Club's user base belongs to the growing demographic of men interested in clothing (the thought!), which, as Nordstrom points out in its release, is a rapidly changing area of retail.