Brands Realize They Can’t Go It Alone, Overhaul D2C Focus 

The direct-to-consumer (D2C) playbook really had a moment. It even had staying power through the pandemic as it provided brands with a way to reach consumers directly, bypassing traditional distribution channels and establishing a closer connection with their audience. D2C strategies enabled companies to control the entire customer experience, from product development to marketing and sales. 

However, as the landscape continues to shift, brands are embracing wholesale opportunities to connect with a wider range of consumers and meet them where they prefer to shop. 

By partnering with retailers, brands can leverage established infrastructure and gain exposure in physical stores or through online platforms with wider audiences. 

So, who’s starting or expanding their wholesale efforts? Or making a notable return?  


Last week, Lululemon inked a deal with Zalando to expand its distribution in Europe.  

Lululemon has expanded its distribution network to reach customers in 12 markets. Additionally, the company is set to leverage Zalando’s distribution network, extending its reach into Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands. 

In a statement, David Schneider, co-CEO of Zalando, said the partnership enriches Zalando’s product assortment and it aligns with Zalando’s mission to enhance the customer experience by providing the most relevant and captivating brands. 

The move follows Lululemon’s strong performance in the first quarter. The athleisure a 24% increase in net revenue year over year (YoY). Lululemon’s international performance stood out, as sales outside of North America grew 60% YoY. 

Read more: Lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch Thrive on Elevated Comfort Trend 


Papier, a D2C stationery brand based in London, made its debut at Anthropologie in June. The move marked Papier’s inaugural wholesale partnership in the U.S.  

Papier considers the availability of its products in brick-and-mortar stores to be important to its business strategy. The brand’s survey revealed that 65% of its customers prefer purchasing stationery in physical stores.  

To date, Papier is available in 220 independent retailers across the U.S., and it intends to enter about 200 more retailers in the coming months. 

Furthermore, Papier plans to launch with Canadian retailer Indigo in the summer, which has over 200 locations throughout Canada. 

The company also announced its ambitious goal of expanding its presence to more than 10,000 retail locations worldwide within the next six years. 


In late June, PYMNTS reported that Nike would be reversing course not because its D2C efforts failed, but because it was looking to zhuzh up its already working strategy.  

During the company’s earnings call Thursday (June 29), Nike President and CEO John Donahoe said it’s all about “giving them what they want, when they want it and how they want it.”  

Nike says its strategy since 2017 remains unchanged and has acknowledged the significance of wholesale partners. As a strategic move, Nike intends to expand its reach by selectively establishing new openings and partnerships in the multibrand wholesale sector.  

In addition to maintaining partnerships with larger multibrand retailers like Dick’s, JD, Footlocker, and Sports Direct, Nike also recognizes the significance of local neighborhood stores in authenticating its brand. 

Read more: Nike’s Share of Direct Sales Hits $21.3 Billion, a 14% increase in FY 2023 

Adore Me 

In May, Adore Me teamed with Walmart to expand its D2C lingerie brand. 

The apparel company, which is owned by Victoria’s Secret, had been collaborating with intimate designer Gelmart for the past two years to create an exclusive line for Walmart, known as Adored by Adore Me. 

Per the report by Modern Retail, the initial Adored collection was introduced in September, followed by the launch of the second collection in May. The second collection is now available in 1,900 Walmart locations, along with the retailer’s website. 

The move followed the finding that over 85% of all retail sales in the U.S. still occur in physical stores rather than online. 

Read more: Adore Me Teams With Walmart to Reach New Customers