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    2011-06-22
    CSN Stores Raises $165 Million "First Round" to Expedite Expansion & Bolster Branding

    Leading Online Home Goods Retailer Attracts Four Prestigious Investors To Help Guide Growth & Launch New Mega-Site That Has It All For The Home

    BOSTON, June 22, 2011/PRNewswire/ -- CSN Stores (www.csnstores.com), one of the largest online retailers of housewares and home furnishings in the U.S., announced today that it has raised $165 millionin funding from four investment firms to increase its ongoing expansion both internationally and in the U.S., target appropriate acquisitions, and drive extensive marketing around a new brand launching later this summer, Wayfair.com (www.wayfair.com). This is the first time that CSN Stores has raised institutional funding in its nine-year history and this funding amount is one of the largest investment rounds reported for any online company so far in 2011.

    CSN's new team of investors include Battery Ventures, Great Hill Partners, HarbourVest Partners, and Spark Capital, well-known venture capital and private equity firms that have supported Groupon, Twitter, Akamai, Angie's List, IGN Entertainment, Tumblr and BuscaPe among others.

    "We've grown profitably every year since 2002 and have continued to aggressively reinvest in the business, but with our new group of advisors and this infusion of funding, we have plans to grow even more quickly," said Niraj Shah, CSN's CEO and co-founder. "Our emerging international businesses will see more resources, and we'll be investing in a major consumer brand launch. Looking ahead four or five years, we think with the help of our investors, we are on the path to becoming a much-larger, publicly-traded company."

    CSN Stores, which jumped 50 percent in sales from 2009 to 2010, and which is growing again at over 50 percent in 2011, expects to well surpass the $500 million dollarmark this year.  Its sales were up by 56 percent in Q1, 2011, compared to Q1, 2010.

    "Why is CSN Stores so successful, even in a challenging economy?" asked Alex Finkelstein, General Partner at Spark Capital. "CSN enables its customers to quickly find the exact item they are looking for at a competitive price and have it delivered to their doorstep within a few days. That's a simple but very valuable part of the CSN equation. In our view, CSN is unique in its ability to deliver this valuable customer experience across a wide selection of products."

    Neeraj Agrawal, General Partner at Battery Ventures said that CSN's focus on customer experience was one of the aspects that attracted him to invest in the company. "I've had my eye on CSN Stores since the time Niraj and Steve started it. We think it's a well-run company that's poised to use this large investment to attract more customers, drive more growth and build a strong consumer brand."  

    CSN attracts more than 100 million visits annually and offers more than 3 million items from 5,000 brands. Among its 200+ sites are Cookware.com, Luggage.com, and Strollers.com. In order to further its position as a leading online retailer for the home, CSN plans to consolidate these sites into one, all-encompassing brand that "has it all for the home" -- Wayfair.com.

    "We have been able to grow at a very fast pace because we know what customers want when shopping online for their home," said CSN's Chairman and Co-Founder Steven Conine. "We knew it was now time to create a name that our customers can remember and to put our full selection together in a single, online destination that offers everything imaginable for nearly any type of home – meeting all style preferences and budgets."

    Michael Kumin, Partner at Great Hill Partners, added, "The U.S. home goods market for furniture, decor, housewares and home improvement is over $500 billion, yet online retailers have only tapped seven percent of it to-date.  We believe that CSN Stores, through its new brand Wayfair.com, is well-positioned to be the leader in this growing market."

    Anyone interested in getting a sneak peek of the Wayfair site should visit Wayfair.com this week. In late summer, Wayfair.com will be open for business. CSN Stores will focus its brand family on three distinct brands: Wayfair.com, AllModern.com and JossandMain.com.  

    AllModern (www.allmodern.com) is an established brand catering to consumers who enjoy the upper-end modern design aesthetic. Joss & Main (www.jossandmain.com) is CSN's new flash sale site offering high-end items for the home at up to 70 percent off.

    Just last month, CSN Stores, which had sales of $383 millionin 2010, jumped ahead of Crate & Barrel in the rankings of online home goods merchants as part of Internet Retailer's Top 500 Guide of the largest retail web sites. In addition, CSN landed in the No. 10 spot on the list of retailers (of any category) that operate solely on the web.

    Beyond rising in the ranks of online stores, CSN has also been in an ongoing hiring surge for the past 18 months. In 2010, CSN filled 250 new spots. So far in 2011, the company has hired another 150 people with plans to increase that number by another 200. With 800 employees now, CSN could reach 1,000 staffers by year's end.

    "We are excited to partner with CSN as they solidify their position as the top online destination for home goods," said Ian Lane, Vice President at HarbourVest Partners. "As CSN accelerates its expansion, we believe the new brand launch of Wayfair.com will provide consumers with a single, trusted place to find the exact home product they are looking for. CSN, soon to be Wayfair.com, is quickly becoming the next large, independent eCommerce company."

    About CSN Stores:

    Headquartered in Boston, CSN Stores LLC (www.csnstores.com) is a $380 million+, privately held company serving customers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Germany, providing unparalleled selection, great customer service, and significant savings. Founded in 2002, CSN's current web sites include: AllModern.com, Luggage.com, Cookware.com and BedroomFurniture.com.  Recently, CSN launched its first flash sale site, Joss & Main, (www.jossandmain.com), which offers 72-hour sales of luxury goods for the home at up to 70 percent off.