The world’s largest retail chain has made another move to strengthen its e-commerce business.
Today, Walmart announced plans to acquire Bonobos, a 10-year-old digitally native men’s clothing brand, for $310 million in cash. Rumors first surfaced about a possible deal in April, at the time sources said the transaction was all but sewn up.
Started in 2007, Bonobos came online with the goal of giving men better fitting clothes and less hassle in the shopping process. After finding success online with its well-fit pants, Bonobos ventured into the brick-and-mortar space, opening Guideshop locations in 2011 where shoppers could get one-on-one service with personal shoppers, see the product in person and then have it shipped home.
Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos, will report to Marc Lore, the president and CEO of Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce business. Dunn’s responsibilities will include running the company’s roster of internet brands, including Bonobos and the women’s wear company ModCoth, which it purchased in March.
Through acquisitions like this one, Moosejaw, and Jet.com, Walmart is continuing to shore up its online presence as it makes a run for Amazon territory. To further its online push, Walmart launched Store No. 8 in March. The internal investment arm is designed to foster entrepreneurial companies in AI, autonomous vehicles and related fields.
The Walmart apparel deals mirror Amazon’s apparel ramp up. In the last year, the online retailer has launched a slew of private label collections. The e-tailer poses a real threat to traditional stores given its cache of consumer data, which allows it to develop into shoppers’ tastes using the sales information it has amassed via the Amazon marketplace. Add this insight to Amazon’s Prime membership model and the inherent convenience of shopping the site, and apparel brands could be in for a game changer. Amazon has used a similar advantage to dominate other product categories like batteries and baby wipes.
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