Has Walmart put a bullseye on Cat & Jack with its new Free Assembly Kids line?
Walmart is serious about raising its fashion cred. The retailer has engaged in a number of exclusive brand relationships and has sought to up its game with its private label lines. Case and point is the launch of its Free Assembly men and women’s collections last fall. Walmart is looking to build on the momentum created by the in-house designed brand with the introduction of Free Assembly Kids.
The collection appears to be Walmart’s answer to Target’s highly successful Cat & Jack line, which has topped $2 billion in annual sales. Free Assembly Kids also appears designed to help Walmart compete for category dollars against the likes of Amazon.com, H&M, Kohl’s, Old Navy, Shein and others.
Items in this initial effort, which includes 50 different styles, are sold in sizes from 5 to 18 with prices ranging from $6 to $36. The collection features wardrobe basics with stylistic twists including plaid and bandana prints, faux Sherpa, athleisure and monochromatic coordinated looks.
“We designed Free Assembly Kids to seamlessly complement our adult collection with many of the above trends like athleisure, plaid and cropped silhouettes being explored in our latest drop for men and women as well,” wrote Deanah Baker, SVP, Men’s, Kids, Shoes, Walmart U.S. “And, just like the adult line, Free Assembly Kids is made with a commitment to sustainability — several pieces in the fall collection include organic cotton or recycled polyester.”
Brandon Maxwell, who has designed clothing for A-list clients such as Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, was tapped earlier this year to serve as the creative director for Free Assembly as well as Scoop, Walmart’s “exclusive, elevated fashion” label. The retailer said at the time of its announcement that Mr. Maxwell’s designs would first start to show up ahead of the holiday season with his first full collection hitting store racks next spring.
Ms. Baker writes that Walmart has been receiving “great feedback” from its customers with the enhancements it has been making in kid’s fashions including the launch of its exclusive Justice line this summer.
Justice, which closed all 826 of its stores as it filed for bankruptcy last year, has rolled out items in multiple categories beyond clothing, such as bedding and bath, backpacks, jewelry, pet, shoes, skateboards and tech accessories.
- Doubling Down on Kids’ Fashion — Introducing Free Assembly Kids – Walmart
- Will hiring a celebrity designer turn Walmart into a fashion destination, à la Target? – RetailWire
- Is the Walmart/Justice tie-up a harbinger of more retailer brand partnerships? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Free Assembly and other moves being made by Walmart suggest it is ready to elevate its fashion game? What retailers are most likely to take a hit if Walmart’s Free Assembly and other lines catch on with customers?