Edgy apparel retailer Nasty Gal is looking for a buyer, multiple sources told Women’s Wear Daily. The publication also cited sources who said designer apparel retailer Revolve is one company considering a possible acquisition. Neither Nasty Gal nor Revolve responded to WWD for comment Monday.
Nasty Gal, which has had some growing pains over the last few years, was founded in 2006 by Sophia Amoruso, who got her start in retail selling vintage or other fashions she purchased (or shoplifted, as recounted in her book "Girlboss"). Amoruso stepped down as CEO nearly two years ago, passing the post off to her number two, Sheree Waterson.
In February 2015, Los Angeles-based Nasty Gal was the recipient of a $16 million Series C funding round led by former Apple retail guru and onetime J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson.
Nasty Gal, a mostly online retailer, has been beset by reports that it has cheated employees of benefits like maternity leave, and received critical reviews for a Nineties-inspired collaboration with singer Courtney Love last summer.
Nasty Gal earlier this year also cut another 10% of its staff, which CEO Waterson characterized as “strategic restructuring.” The retailer, like many other e-commerce sites, has been facing competition from fast-fashion brands like Forever 21 and Zara, which are nimble enough to react to fashion trends and quickly change up their merchandise.
Nasty Gal earlier this year was looking to expand its physical store footprint beyond the two physical stores it opened in California with Johnson’s encouragement. The first, launched on Los Angeles' Melrose Ave. in Nov. 2014, features two-way mirrors that allow customers to see into the store while in the dressing rooms, phone charging stations, iPad-assisted checkout and other tech accoutrements.
Nasty Gal's move into brick-and-mortar follows a trend in which pure-play online retailers open more physical locations in a bid to attract more customers, tighten fulfillment costs and bring more of a shopping "experience" to consumers. But those kinds of decisions may soon be in the hands of a new owner.