Walmart Rolls Out New Apparel Brands for Women, Kids and Plus Sizes
Walmart is introducing new low-cost apparel brands for women, kids and plus-size customers — and phasing out older brands — in an effort to lure shoppers away from Amazon.com, which is steadily increasing its apparel sales, according to a Bloomberg report. The store brands include Time and Tru in ladieswear, which will replace the jettisoned DanskinNow label, along with Terra & Sky in plus-size apparel and Wonder Nation for kids, according to a company presentation to suppliers obtained by Bloomberg News. The George apparel brand, which Walmart brought over from its British unit Asda, will be refocused for men only. The new brands will replace older ones such as Faded Glory, White Stag and Just My Size. (The Just My Size brand will continue to be available, but only online.) Walmart is “launching new brands, not labels,” according to one of the slides presented at the meeting, which took place at the retailer’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., in late January. The presentation also revealed plans to spruce up Walmart’s home decor department by improving the presentation of products, both in-store and online. The retailer also gave some details of its partnership with Lord & Taylor, which will have a branded flagship shop for upscale goods on Walmart.com this spring. The site will include apparel, shoes, accessories and jewelry, along with free two-day shipping. Lord & Taylor will own the inventory and might fulfill some orders through Walmart’s dedicated e-commerce distribution centers.
Total Retail's Take: The moves discussed above are part of Walmart’s push to make its apparel business more streamlined and stylish, as well as a response to consumers shifting more of their budgets to experiences such as travel and eating out, rather than clothing. Indeed, Walmart, Target, Amazon and others are fighting over a shrinking apparel pie. Americans now spend just 3.1 percent of their household budgets on clothing, according to government data, down from 6.2 percent four decades ago. Target has been investing heavily in its private-label brands, and within the past year has launched A New Day for women, JoyLab for athletic apparel, Goodfellow & Co. for men and Universal Thread for denim. Amazon has been doing more of the same, albeit quietly, though most of its success in fashion thus far stems from selling basic items, such as underwear and T-shirts. A new report from Coresight Research (formerly Fung Global Retail & Technology) found that Amazon is increasingly a force to be reckoned with in the apparel industry, and is stealing market share from Target, Macy's and J.C. Penney. Walmart’s new value-priced items, such as leggings for $9.96, could also offset the pinch of rising clothing prices, which increased the most since 1990 last month.