Underneath.com, the men's and women's intimate apparel retailer arm of Atlanta based QUAD-i (Innovative Internet Ideas, Inc.), has announced that it has finalised talks with Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) about a possible sale, but instead of finding a buyer has found a possible competitor.

As reported on Just-Style at the beginning of December, Underneath.com made the list for the top 25 best websites - an honour also awarded to Nordstrom.com.

Underneath.com's CEO emailed Dan Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom.com, to congratulate him on Nordstrom's selection and also hinted that his company was looking for a suitor. Mr. Nordstrom replied wanting to learn more about the company.

"Once Dan Nordstrom replied wanting to learn more about Underneath.com, I emailed him with sales and marketing information on the site, as well as why it made sense to sell brand name intimate apparel over other products on the Internet, since it is a product that is like a commodity," said Jeffrey Johnson, CEO of QUAD-i.

"Underwear, panties, socks and undershirts are products that are not allowed to be tried on in most stores and are replenished often. These products are, in most cases, not returnable if worn, which explains why Underneath.com has a return rate of less than two per cent," he continued. 

The result of all the talks has led to Nordstrom setting up its own intimate apparel site, a move that Mr Nordstrom felt made more sense.

Despite losing a possible buyer Jeffrey Johnson is not bitter about gaining another competitor and is looking forward to the challenge.

"I do not blame Dan's company for wanting to get into this space after giving him information on it. It does make so much sense, more so than shoes. They may have millions to sink into this, while we don't, but we have been to the rodeo before when FigLeaves popped up in our backyard, with major funding from many of the VCs we had talked to previously, and look what happened there. They dissolved and sold their name to a European outfit," said Johnson.