by Stephen Garner
Neiman Marcus Fort Worth

Neiman Marcus Group (NMG) announced on Tuesday its intent to acquire Stylyze, the first of several future digital investments and building out of technology capabilities. The acquisition transaction would be expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Seattle-based, women-founded and -led technology company is a machine learning SaaS platform that offers product attribution data and curated content to power relevant shopping experiences across the customer journey.

Acquiring Stylyze will strengthen NMG’s ability to build a differentiated luxury experience and is intended to be part of an over half-billion dollars in planned gross investment over the next three years by NMG to support the company’s integrated luxury retail strategy.

NMG began its strategic partnership with Stylyze in 2018. Stylyze’s products and capabilities are currently an important component of the company’s remote-selling platform and industry-leading clienteling tool, CONNECT. NMG’s selling associates use the platform to engage digitally with their clients and provide them with the white glove service the luxury retailer is known for – especially when it comes to personalized looks. Since the launch of CONNECT, selling associates have completed over 5,000,000 engagement sessions and placed hundreds of thousands of orders on the platform – a testament to the success of personalized, remote-selling.

While Stylyze’s technology currently supports NMG’s remote-selling platform and digital selling, the company plans to explore integrating its functionality into additional digital tools, including e-commerce, mobile apps, messaging channels like text message, chat, and phone calls, and other engagement channels.

A Neiman Marcus associate using the CONNECT remote-selling platform

“We could not be more thrilled for the opportunity to join forces with such an esteemed industry leader that brings together the best customers, brands, and selling channels,” said Kristen Miller, CEO and co-founder of Stylyze. “Our company and team have been working with NMG for over three years, and we are ready to rapidly power, accelerate, and elevate unique and distinct digitally-enabled service models.”

“Over the past year, we’ve been strengthening the foundation of our business. We knew the rebound was coming, and we’ve been experiencing the return of luxury as it accelerates. NMG is perfectly positioned to capture the growing interest of luxury customers as we develop essential digital capabilities that ensure we drive profitable and sustainable growth,” added Geoffroy van Raemdonck, chief executive officer at Neiman Marcus Group. “By acquiring Stylyze, we will be able to advance our strategy of integrated luxury, building long-term relationships with our luxury customers that create emotional value and high lifetime value potential. This allows us to deepen our relationship with our customers through the use of technology.”

Powered by data and machine learning across all three customer channels, NMG has already implemented technology and digital solutions from over 25 companies to enhance and elevate the luxury customer experience. NMG will continue to explore opportunities to further its integrated luxury retail focus through acquisitions, partnerships, and building out digital capabilities internally.

Post-financial restructuring, NMG is able to make strategic investments, like the acquisition of Stylyze, because of its renewed financial flexibility. The company had, at the end of April, total outstanding debt of $1.1 billion versus $5.1 billion the prior year. NMG currently has available liquidity of over $850 million versus $132 million a year ago and has no borrowings outstanding on a $900 million revolver.

During NMG’s fiscal third quarter (February – April), March and April comparable sales were relatively flat to FY19 (pre-pandemic). Results during the quarter were generally ahead of plan and showed signs that the business has begun to return to pre-pandemic levels with a strong e-commerce business, accounting for approximately 35 percent of revenue.