Walmart today announced the launch of Free Assembly, a private label men’s and women’s clothing brand. The brand will debut this week online and in 250 stores, hoping to appeal to shoppers who want style and value. Free Assembly was built with an in-house fashion design team, "with decades of experience designing for modern American brands known for mass appeal," according to a blog post from Denise Incandela, senior vice president, women’s group, elevated and online brands, Walmart.
The Fall collection will include more than 30 items for women and 25 items for men, all priced between $9 and $45, Incandela said. Products include a $45 structured blazer, a $39 viscose tiered maxi for women, and a $30 fishtail parka. "What I’m most proud of though is the $40 organic selvedge denim that retails at an incredibly low price," Incandela said. "Customers are going to be wowed by the style, quality and fit of these pieces for the value. They are that fantastic."
Total Retail's Take: Walmart’s fashion portfolio has grown significantly over the past few years, having added more than 1,000 apparel brands to its online assortment, according to Incandela. Yet, this is the first time Walmart has launched a fashion-forward private-label brand. Perhaps the time is right. Since the pandemic hit in March, more and more consumers turned to mass-market retailers to purchase clothing — along with food, appliances, etc. — in an effort to do one-stop shopping. In fact, big-box retailers like Walmart and Target are expected to see apparel revenue grow in 2020 year-over-year, according to industry analysts. And in terms of product, the time is right. Consumers today are longing for the type of merchandise in Free Assembly's collection: comfortable and casual clothing to wear as they work from home. Furthermore, they’re hungry for good deals as they watch their wallets during the recession.