It’s no secret that Walmart wants to compete with Amazon. The two have been competing to become the top retail chain that offers everything. While Amazon focuses on its grocery store chains, Walmart is closing in on the clothing retail chains. Walmart has agreed to purchase menswear retailer Bonobos for $310 million on Friday, June 16. The purchase is a decision to revamp its online clothing catalog and to compete with Amazon, who has previously tapped into the fashion market.
Bonobos is a high-end menswear retailer that started selling chinos on the Internet. In recent years, the New York-based retail chain expanded into polo shirts, dress shirts, suits, and other types of men’s clothing and accessories. The retailer also has its share of brick-and-mortar locations, including special boutiques in Nordstrom department stores. It sounds like the opposite of Walmart’s lower-quality and cost-effective clothing and accessories. Bonobos’ growth in both its offline and online retail chains is what attracted Walmart’s interest, reported the New York Times.
Last month, it was confirmed that Modcloth was to be bought out by Jet.com, which is owned by Walmart. Modcloth is an online fashion retailer that’s known for its kitschy retro shifts and indie clothes. Employees received offer letters from Walmart on Wednesday, May 17, reported Jezebel. Modcloth employees were asked to join a special meeting, a recording of which has been provided to Jezebel.
They were informed that they were acquired by Jet.com, an online shopping site for household goods, that was bought out by Walmart back in August 2016. Modcloth has marketed itself as a hip and quirky independent retailer for young girls. It’s not just girls who love shopping at Modcloth. Teens and young adult women who want to still be hip, but still want to dress appropriately love shopping at the retailer as well.
Modcloth has revamped itself over the years. It’s not some cute online store where women can buy frocks with cats on them. It offers plus-size clothing and has been hailed as a “feminist” retailer by Cosmopolitan. Founder Susan Gregg Koger has been vocal about equal pay and women’s rights. The company still wants to retain its cool though it’s been bought out by Walmart.
Hopefully, Walmart will learn some of Modcloth’s retail smarts. The retail chain has been criticized for offering “fat girl costumes” last year. Walmart was sued for employment discrimination based on gender back in 2011. Since Modcloth has faced a retail slump and layoffs over the years, it’s no wonder why they would team up with the retail giant.
CEO Matthew Kaness told Modcloth’s employees at the meeting that this major move will allow Modcloth to grow and expand on its own. He believes the two retailers are alike “culturally.” However, some of Modcloth’s employees could be heard laughing at him in the background.
“When I think about the quality of people I’ve met at Jet and their ambitions and how it aligns with ours,” Kaness began. “And when I think about their parent company Walmart, who has the resources—but also has when you’ve spent time researching it and understanding it, they’ve spent a lot of time working on corporate responsibility and environmental initiatives and opportunities for their employees and their careers. I think there’s a lot of overlap culturally with what they’re about and what we’re about. I think over time this is going to become an incredible marriage.”
[Featured image by Supannee Hickman/Shutterstock.com]