Bonobos Founder Andy Dunn to Depart Walmart in 2020
Bonobos founder Andy Dunn said on Thursday he would leave Walmart in January, more than two years after the world’s largest retailer bought his online menswear brand for $310 million. In a LinkedIn post, Dunn, currently the senior vice president of digital consumer brands at Walmart U.S. eCommerce, said that when he joined Walmart in the summer of 2017, "my goal was to leave the company better than I found it. What I am certain of is how much I gained from my time at Walmart.” Dunn added that he learned a lot “about retail transformation in the digital age at the world’s biggest company.” Dunn, who oversaw Bonobos, Eloquii, the women’s plus-sized clothing brand Walmart bought last year, and Allswell, an online and in-store mattress brand that Walmart unveiled in 2018, didn’t specify where he would be heading next. According to a Walmart spokesperson, Dunn will remain on board through January and "will work closely with merchandising and brand leadership to ensure a smooth and successful transition."
Total Retail's Take: Dunn's departure from Walmart isn't a surprise, at least according to industry insiders. After all, Walmart has scaled back plans to purchase a new digital-native brand every month. Walmart put the brakes on those acquisitions, as the company’s U.S. e-commerce losses are projected to surpass $1 billion this year. Furthermore, Walmart sold off one of its other digital-native brands, ModCloth, earlier this year, while also laying off dozens of Bonobos employees earlier this year. Still, Walmart is continuing to invest in some big e-commerce initiatives. In September, for example, it announced it was launching a $98-a-year grocery delivery service whose product selection it hopes to broaden over time to better compete with the giant selection offered by Amazon’s Prime delivery membership program. And Walmart also acquired rights to relaunch the once-trendy fashion brand Scoop NYC, but at lower price points. Finally, one could say that Walmart has learned lessons from these digital-first brands, which has made it a more savvy e-commerce competitor. Walmart’s online sales increased 41 percent in the latest quarter. So, it's hard to say if Dunn's departure signifies the end of a digital era for Walmart, or if it may signify a culture clash among the traditional retailer and employees of its D-to-C acquisition. Dunn may just be looking for his next adventure.