The online mega-merchandiser Amazon.com has bought one of Madison's recent small retail success stories, the companies announced Monday.
Shopbop.com, the celebrity-recognized Internet home of posh Downtown clothing dealer Bop, will join the Amazon stable as a stand-alone subsidiary. Neither company would release financial terms of the deal.
Customers will notice no changes to either the Web site or the brick-and-mortar location at 222 W. Gorham St., said chief executive Bob Lamey.
While the company was not looking to sell, the infusion of cash and other resources Amazon.com can bring were too much to pass up, Lamey said. The Fortune 500 company reported $3.7 billion in assets last year.
"We have exceeded at replicating the high-end store feel on the Internet," Lamey said. "What Amazon does exceptionally well is in the area of tech fulfillment, and are much bigger and more sophisticated in areas that complement what we do."
Bop first opened its store in September 1999 and established its online presence two months later.
Lamey would not release revenue figures, but the store has gained a reputation in the world of high-end fashion -- celebrities Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff are both clients.
On Monday, the site was offering 103 different lines of high-end clothing, with asking prices into the hundreds of dollars on many articles.
Amazon spokeswoman Jani Strand said the company does not have any immediate plans to integrate the Shopbop.com site into its own operations.
Both Strand and Lamey said the future will bring efforts to "introduce" each other's customers.
Amazon.com is known best as a dealer of books, music and DVDs, but it has expanded into a broad range of retail options in recent years.
Amazon.com already has arrangements with other clothing retailers such as Nordstrom, Polo and Macy's, and it features links to those stores' products under the Amazon banner.
But Shopbop.com will not follow that pattern, Strand said. At least initially, Amazon.com will not link to Shopbop.com, which will retain a separate online brand and Web address, similar to the arrangement Amazon.com has with subsidiary Internet Movie Database.
Bop and Shopbop.com employ about 80 people between its Downtown retail location and its facility at 101 E. Badger Road. Lamey said the company was not actively looking for a financial partner.
"Our heads got turned when we sat down and talked about what they could do for our business," Lamey said.
Amazon.com has struggled recently, with its stock price underperforming the industry as a whole over the past two years.
The company fell short of its revenue expectations in the last three months of 2005 and issued new expectations short of some analysts' predictions this year.
Amazon.com closed at $38.01 a share on the Nasdaq market Monday, down 34 cents.