Early this week, retail giant Walmart announced that it is absorbing plus-size clothing brand Eloquii into its line of clothing brands. Unfortunately, not everyone was thrilled to hear about this merge.
Eloquii, a popular plus-size fashion store, has gained what can only be called a “cult-like following” over the past few years, per Business Insider. Originally a sub brand associated with The Limited, Eloquii eventually branched out and became its own independent brand. The brand is well-known among the plus-size community for being one of the few retailers offering trendy plus-size clothing for the younger generation.
It is rumored that acquiring Eloquii is Walmart’s attempt to appeal to a wider audience with their apparel selections.
While some shoppers of the brand are thrilled that the fashion line will be more available to the public, some who have been loyal customers of the brand are voicing their disgust. These customers are outraged at the merge stating that Walmart will cheapen the brand. Some have gone as far as saying they cannot support the brand so long as they have a contract with Walmart.
Social media quickly lit up as many of the brand’s 7,000 Twitter followers voiced their opinion on the merge.
— ELOQUII (@ELOQUII) October 2, 2018
“How disappointing. i have dresses from when you were with the limited and was so proud of how you grew into your own independent, cool company. choosing to align yourself with walmart makes you feel trashy, lacking in values and $ grubbing. i’m genuinely saddened at this,” one saddened customer by the Twitter handle of panachedenver said in response to the news.
A second customer described the merge as “devastating” in the tweet below.
Walmart is acquiring @ELOQUII and I’m devastated. No more shopping there for me. ????????♀️
— Dionna Humphrey (@MadeMePretty) October 2, 2018
The purchase of Eloquii allows Walmart to continue to dip into the $21 billion plus-size clothing market.
In the past few years, the retail giant also acquired other clothing brands including MODCLOTH and Bonobos. Like Eloquii, the merges were met with similar reactions as loyal customer bases didn’t like the idea of their brand becoming an item on a Walmart sales floor.
While some of the customer’s anger stemmed from concern Walmart would take the shine and spunk away from the Eloquii brand, some of the outrage stemmed much deeper than that. Some questioned if Eloquii was really alright supporting a company known to have next to no regard for their own employees.
.@ELOQUII I just read that you joined Walmart and I’m disappointed. They pay their employees unfair wages and force them onto government assistance to make up for the difference. Do you have any thoughts on this? #BoycottWalmart
— Adrianne (@AAMcLane) October 2, 2018
While the exact terms of the deal between Walmart and Eloquii are not public, Recode learned from someone familiar with the acquisition that Walmart plans to pay $100 million – or two to three times the brand’s annual revenue – to close the deal. Eloquii CEO Mariah Chase, along with all 100 of her employees, will report to Andy Dunn after the deal closes. Dunn sold his menswear brand, Bonobos, to the retail giant for $310 million just last year.
Both MODCLOTH and Bonobos have reported an increase in sales and customer traffic since they merged with Walmart. Only time will tell if the merge does the same for the Eloquii brand.