Just a few weeksafter Walmart acquired Eloquii, a plus-sized fashion retailer, the retail giant has reeled in its next digitally native brand. Walmart acquired Bare Necessities, an e-Commerce intimates and sleepwear retailer, for an undisclosed sum.
Walmart has prioritized fashion as a core element of its e-Commerce experience, ever since overhauling Walmart.com in May and introducing the Lord & Taylor flagship e-Commerce site. These changes, as well as the company’s continued spree of acquisitions, starting with Jet.com in 2016, are designed to give Walmart access to younger Millennial customers who do not normally shop on its web site. The company also partnered with comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to launch a women’s fashion line in August.
“As we began conversations with [the Walmart] team, we realized how much we had in common around customer commitment, and that we could do even more if we combine our expertise in intimates with Walmart’s deep resources, scale and relationships,” Brooke Glassberg, Editor-in-Chief of the Bare Necessities blog Bare It All, wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.
The moves come at a time when Walmart is in an increasingly fierce head-to-head battle with Amazon in apparel. While Walmart had 8.6% of the U.S. apparel market in 2017, that was just slightly above Amazon’s 7.9%, according to Morgan Stanley. Amazon is expected to overtake Walmart as the apparel market leader, the report said.
Noah Wrubel, CEO and Co-Founder of Bare Necessities, will lead the intimates category for both Walmart.com and Jet.com while also continuing to run Bare Necessities. BareNecessities.com will continue to operate as a standalone site, but the Walmart e-Commerce team is working to integrate the retailer’s assortment onto Walmart.com and Jet.com. The online retailer currently offers more than 100,000 SKUs of bras, swimwear, shapewear and sleepwear from more than 160 brands.
For a preview of what a potential conversion onto Walmart.com might look like, look to Moosejaw’s Premium Outdoor Store, which debuted in August. Moosejaw curated the entire product line of the store,marking the first time Walmart enabled one of its recently acquired specialty retailers to curate a store on Walmart.com. The online store includes existing Moosejaw-branded products, but there are also plans to broaden the assortment over time, to potentially include products from other specialty outdoor retailers and brands.
Walmart’s overall acquisition strategy consists of two complementary parts, according to a blog post from Denise Incandela, Head of Fashion at Walmart U.S. eCommerce:
- Acquiring companies that strengthen Walmart.com and Jet.com by enhancing both their category expertise and assortment (e.g., Hayneedle, Shoes.com and Moosejaw); and
- Acquiring digital brands that are unique and differentiated, offering products and experiences “you can’t find anywhere else” (e.g., Bonobos, Modcloth and Eloquii).
Bare Necessities fits into the first category, according to Incandela.