retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Walmart said yesterday that it is buying Art.com, described as one of the largest global online purveyors of art and wall decor, with $300 million in annual sales.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It is, CNBC reports, the addition of yet another digital brand to its widening portfolio, and a way of “bolstering its home decor business.”

Among the other digital brands that Walmart has acquired in recent years: Jet, Moosejaw, Bonobos, ModCloth, Eloquii and Bare Necessities.

CNBC writes that Walmart “will continue to run Art.com as a standalone website and wouldn't comment on its plans to add merchandise from Art.com to Walmart stores. The website has roughly 2 million designs to chose from, and growing, according to Walmart.”

Meanwhile, Twice.com reports that Walmart “has developed an expansive line of fashionable tech accessories that it’s selling exclusively” on its website.

The story says: “Dubbed Motile, the lifestyle brand boasts more than a dozen products at launch, including a faux leather backpack and travel bag with embedded 10K mAh wireless chargers; QI wireless power banks and fabric charging pad; a foldable bluetooth keyboard; iPhone cases; and colorful Lightning cables with faux leather bands, sporty lanyards or tasseled keychains.”

Walmart describes the collection as “smart accessories for an untethered world.” The story notes that “with Motile, Walmart may have taken a cue from Target, which last spring launched a private-label collection of boldly patterned headphones and accessories under the Heyday brand.” And, of course, there is the Amazon Basics line of accessories.
KC's View:
Walmart continues to surprise. I’m not quite sure of its ability to delight, but I think it is important to remember that in most of the deals it makes, it is acquiring not just businesses, but talent … and is developing a ton of bench strength that could help drive the company in innovative and entrepreneurial directions in the future.

And that’s a big deal.