Can Kroger make a name for itself in fashion?
As Kroger tries to reinvent itself to head off Amazon.com’s moves into grocery, part of its new strategy includes strengthening its non-grocery offerings with a new private-label fashion brand.
Kroger is rolling out an apparel label called “Our Brands” in 2018, according to a press release. Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of merchandising, described the brand as “on-trend.” The offerings in the line range from “elevated basics” to “fashionable highlights.”
“Our Brands” is in fact planned as a re-invigoration of existing clothing brands available at the company’s Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace supercenter concepts. The initial rollout of Our Brands will begin at the 300 Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace locations, according to the press release. Kroger operates 2,793 stores in total.
While clothing that is available at supercenter and mass merchant stores operated by Meijer, Walmart and others isn’t usually thought of as being trendy, stylishness isn’t without precedent.
Target was one of the first to bring in big-name designers for collaborations on low-price collections. Its 2011 launch of a Missoni line was a major success online and off. The chain quickly ran out of stock and items from the brand appeared on eBay and elsewhere for resale at inflated prices. The retailer has duplicated this success with subsequent limited edition launches tied to luxury designers including Lilly Pulitzer, Marimekko and others.
Walmart has also been working to make its apparel offerings more of a draw. Of its numerous startup acquisitions in the past year, one of the most notable was indie clothing e-tailer ModCloth.
While it’s not clear if ModCloth-curated styles will make it to Walmart’s main-brand racks, People reported that ModCloth recently had an official launch on the retailer’s Jet.com division.
While not long ago, analysts were mulling the possibility of Kroger being the company slated to acquire Whole Foods and celebrating its successful analytics partnership with dunnhumby, enthusiasm for the chain has fallen off.
In fact a recent article in Bloomberg made the case that Kroger is not taking the impending challenge posed by Amazon seriously enough.
- Kroger Reimagines “Effortless Style” Ahead of New Our Brands Apparel Label Roll-out – Kroger
- Apparel Merchandise Standards Guide – Kroger
- Target bets big on in-house brands – Business of Fashion
- Fashion scalpers hit jackpot reselling Missoni for Target on eBay – RetailWire
- What will Walmart do with its newest acquisition, ModCloth? – RetailWire
- Should Kroger go after Whole Foods? – RetailWire
- Is Kroger in denial about the magnitude of its challenges? – RetailWire
- Modcloth Launches on Jet.com with Over 600 Fabulous Styles – Here Are 7 We’re Shopping for Fall – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think are the factors behind Kroger’s decision to launch its “Our Brands” clothing lineup? What will determine whether Kroger succeeds or fails in this endeavor?