Fashion from the department store Lord & Taylor is coming to Walmart’s online store, according to news from The Wall Street Journal. The deal is part of Walmart’s new initiative to court wealthier customers.
“This would be the first step in creating an online mall that shoppers could access from Walmart’s website,” an anonymous source told the Wall Street Journal.
The Lord & Taylor deal is the latest in Walmart’s series of eCommerce acquisitions in order to keep up with eCommerce giant Amazon. In February, Walmart acquired Moosejaw, an online firm specializing in the outdoors, Modcloth, a women’s apparel site, in March and Bonobos, a clothing site for men, in June.
Ravi Jariwala, senior director of public relations at Walmart.com, told Retail Dive that many of the brands Walmart has acquired were intended for sale through Jet.com, Marc Lore’s eCommerce site, which the retailer purchased last year.
“The plan has been for Modcloth and Bonobos, for some of that product, to be sold through Jet because the demographics they serve are very nicely aligned,” said Jariwala.
For luxury fashion brands, an association with Walmart can be a mixed blessing, suggests Retail Dive. Walmart has an established distribution network and the funds young companies need to scale. On the other hand, selling at Walmart might mean these companies might have difficulty sustaining premium prices.
“[Y]ou might … see expectations of the prices to come down,” Kelly Jo Sands, EVP of marketing technology at marketing firm Ansira, told Retail Dive.
“It is understandable why Walmart would want to build its apparel sales on the internet, as almost 30 percent of apparel sales are occurring online, and Walmart is not currently participating,” wrote analyst Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultancy SiteWorks International, in an email exchange with Retail Dive.
Earlier this year, Walmart also announced its Store No. 8 initiative, which is an internal effort to generate its own retail startups within the company.