Walmart Acquires Online Lingerie Retailer Bare Necessities
Walmart announced last week that it has acquired lingerie and sleepwear retailer Bare Necessities for an undisclosed amount. Bare Necessities will join the Walmart U.S. e-commerce portfolio. Founded in 1998, Bare Necessities offers more than 100,000 SKUs from more than 160 brands, including an extensive assortment of bras, swimwear, shapewear and sleepwear. Intimates is a category that has been rapidly growing online and has complex sizing and highly specialized product, and Bare Necessities "will bring deep category expertise, a content offering designed to educate intimates shoppers, as well as strong brand relationships and operational capabilities," according to a Walmart blog post about the acquisition. Bare Necessities will continue to operate as a standalone business, and will be a complementary brand to Walmart's other e-commerce sites. Eventually, Walmart plans to integrate the Bare Necessities’ assortment onto Walmart.com and Jet.com. As part of the acquisition, Noah Wrubel, CEO and co-founder of Bare Necessities, will lead the intimates category for Walmart.com and Jet.com, while also continuing to run Bare Necessities.
Total Retail's Take: The acquisition of Bare Necessities fits well into Walmart's broader acquisition strategy, which includes two different types of companies: one, category leaders with specialized expertise and assortment that can help enhance the customer experience on Walmart.com and Jet.com (think Hayneedle, Moosejaw and Shoes.com) and two, digital brands that offer unique products customers can’t find anywhere else (think Bonobos, ModCloth and the recently acquired ELOQUII).
Danny Silverman, chief marketing officer at analytics solutions provider Clavis Insight, says Walmart's acquisition's strategy is helping it to better compete against Amazon.com for online shoppers. “Amazon and Walmart have always taken different approaches to growing their online business," Silverman notes. "Amazon is a notoriously ‘in-house’ environment where it rarely partners or acquires, instead choosing to build. Walmart lacks that culture or organizational capability, so it has resorted to partnerships. Acquiring brands with an established base of business and momentum allows Walmart to stay competitive.”