by Stephen Garner
Denver Premium Outlets

Simon Property Group and the parent of Rue La La and Gilt have partnered to launch a “multi-platform” venture dedicated to online discount shopping.

Simon and Rue Gilt Group (RGG) are equal partners in the joint venture, which the companies expect to quickly surpass $1 billion in sales, according to a press release. Simon said it would contribute $280 million to the new venture, a figure that includes the value of its Shop Premium Outlets (SPO) e-commerce site that it began testing in March.

The venture combines Rue La La and Gilt platforms with Simon’s SPO, which will now be run by RGG under the agreement. The two companies are also using their combined customer databases, totaling more than 35 million shoppers, to help push the venture. The deal is still subject to typical closing conditions.

For brands and retailers on the site, SPO will help drive additional online sales and support inventory optimization and customer acquisition. SPO currently encompasses over 2,000 designers and 300,000 products with many more merchants to join over time as new enhancements are introduced to the site.

“Following our successful test of with VIP shoppers, we’re excited to expand our omni-channel capabilities in collaboration with a leading digital entrepreneur and the RGG platform,” said David Simon, chairman, president, and CEO of Simon. “Our strong capabilities in the physical outlet space, combined with RGG’s exceptional e-commerce success, will give shoppers enhanced access to the world’s best brands and the most compelling deals both online and in-store. We believe online value shopping presents a tremendous business opportunity for Simon, given our credibility, trust, and relationships with brands, retailers and shoppers.”

“The online value shopping market is a massive opportunity ready for the next disruptor,” added Michael Rubin, chairman of RGG. “Partnering with industry leader Simon allows us to capitalize on this significant opportunity and accelerate RGG’s growth to quickly surpass $1 billion in sales. This transaction brings together the leaders in online and physical commerce to deliver the excitement of outlet shopping online to consumers and innovative solutions to our brand partners.”

“Rue Gilt Groupe has a track record of success in growing and operating profitable businesses, including the Gilt acquisition a year ago,” commented Mark McWeeny, chief executive officer of RGG. “We are excited to partner with Simon on this innovative e-commerce property. Our expertise in e-commerce, data-science, curation and customer experience was the foundation for this partnership. Together with Simon’s leadership, we are excited about the future opportunities ahead for this new, innovative retail platform.”