Starting in spring 2018, Lord & Taylor – which is owned by the Hudson's Bay Company – will open a virtual storefront on Walmart.com in an effort to boost customer traffic to its website. In turn, the partnership will also boost Walmart’s online assortment with premium products, while also advancing the retailer’s effort to access millennial customers who usually do not shop on its site.
“Our goal is to create a premium fashion destination within Walmart.com,” Denise Incandela, head of fashion for Walmart eCommerce, told Reuters. She said Walmart shoppers search the retailer’s website for premium items, and the company aims to expand its online business by focusing on such products.
“This is a part of a larger business strategy where we are working to create a new Walmart.com,” Incandela said. She did not comment on the financial terms of the partnership.
While Walmart is the world’s largest brick-and-mortar clothing retailer, with 2016 sales exceeding $23 billion, the company has failed to have the same success online. Instead, Amazon leads the U.S. online clothing and footwear market with sales of $13 billion in 2016, up $9 billion from five years ago – and it is expected to triple its share of the U.S. apparel market over the next four years.
Virtual stores are also a preferred route for U.S. retailers to enter new countries where they don’t have operations. For example, Macy’s in 2015 said it would enter China with a virtual store on Alibaba and test demand in that market.