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Gilt Groupe to Shutter Park & Bond Site

The company said it will "merge" the business with its core Gilt Man site.

Gilt Groupe will shutter its upscale Park & Bond men’s site in early 2013, following the holiday selling season.

This story first appeared in the September 21, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

 

Park & Bond was launched in August 2011 as a full-price site that offered a range of trendy designer and contemporary brands, along with an editorial voice. It was a complement and counterpart to the off-price, flash-sale model at Gilt.

 

Elements of Park & Bond will be merged into Gilt Man, as the latter adds more full-price buying options to its business, said Andy Page, president of Gilt Groupe. Gilt Man sells some regular-price merchandise in its Basics shop. Page said it was unclear at this point if the Park & Bond name would be utilized in any way on the Gilt Man site.

 

The move is the second high-profile closure of a men’s site this year, following the April termination of Cladmen.com by partners J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Esquire magazine.

 

“We did a lot of strategic work internally, and we found that our customers were a bit confused having two separate men’s destinations under the Gilt umbrella,” said Page of the decision to eliminate Park & Bond. Page said the competing value propositions between the off-price merchandise on Gilt and the sale merchandise on Park & Bond was unclear to customers, once markdowns began on the latter.

 

The move is part of a larger effort to streamline the overall Gilt Groupe business and move it toward profitability as the company aims for an initial public offering. Typical of an e-commerce startup of its scale, the Park & Bond division was not turning a profit on the $10-million-plus business it had developed over the past year, said Page.

 

Volume at Gilt Man is approaching $100 million for the trailing 12 months. The Gilt women’s business is well over twice as large, although Page declined to divulge a more precise figure. As with the company overall, those divisions are not yet consistently profitable either. Gilt expects to be profitable as an entire company in the fourth quarter of this year and the second quarter of 2013, said Page.

 

In another move to streamline its businesses, Gilt has promoted Jyothi Rao to executive vice president of fashion, overseeing both the women’s and men’s apparel and accessories businesses. She was previously general manager of the Gilt women’s business. The 75 employees who work on the men’s and women’s businesses will now work more closely together, sharing efficiencies.

 

Keith George, who oversaw men’s as general manager of Gilt Man and Park & Bond, will continue as general manager of Gilt Man, now reporting to Rao.

 

Additionally, Jason Goldberger, previously general manager of Gilt Home and Gilt Taste, has been promoted to executive vice president and added oversight of the Baby & Kids business to his portfolio, as well as business development. Both Rao and Goldberger continue to report to Page.

 

Rachel Jarrett will continue in her role as general manager of Baby & Kids and take on additional responsibilities as head of operations for Home, reporting to Goldberger. Page said all of the moves would result in a net loss of two to four positions company-wide.