retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Walmart last week announced its acquisition of Bare Necessities, the online lingerie retailer.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The story notes that the acquisition comes in the same week that Walmart acquired Eloquii, described as “a fashion startup that sells plus-sized clothing,” and just months after it made a deal to launch a women’s fashion line with comedian/talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Walmart has been on a run, making deals that it apparently believes will help it expand its appeal to a younger, more fashion-conscious customer base that might ordinarily not do business with it. It has developed a partnership with department store chain Lord & Taylor and is selling its products on its website and has acquired brands such as Bonobos, Moosejaw, ModCloth and ShoeBuy.

CNBC writes that “the deal also reflects a sense of urgency to defend market share. According to a report from Morgan Stanley, Walmart had 8.6 percent of the U.S. apparel market in 2017, followed by Amazon at 7.9 percent and Target at 4.8 percent. The report estimated Amazon will overtake Walmart as the leading retailer in the apparel category in 2018.”
KC's View:
The question for me is the degree to which Walmart is going to integrate these brands into its own operations, as opposed to allowing them some level of operational autonomy while providing support and resources and learning from their entrepreneurial approach.