Walmart adding plus-size women’s brand to its digital portfolio
Walmart is adding to its roster of digital-first retail brands with the planned acquisition of Eloquii, a plus-sized women’s fashion e-tailer that also operates five physical store locations.
The move, according to a blog post by Andy Dunn, SVP of digital consumer brands, Walmart US eCommerce, is another piece in a strategic puzzle whereby the retailer brings together digital businesses that demonstrate its commitment to “building brands and customer relationships.”
Adding Eloquii, Mr. Dunn wrote, was another example of Walmart being “laser focused on developing a portfolio of direct to consumer brands with a unique assortment you can’t find anywhere else.”
Eloquii got its start as a part of L Brands in 2011 before being shuttered a year-and-a-half later, Recode reports. In 2014, a group of employees and an investor bought the brand and relaunched it as an online-only business. In recent years, the brand has been on the ascent with fashionable clothing that goes beyond the basics for women sizes 14 and up. Eloquii, which has raised $42 million in venture capital, decided that it would be better served going forward by joining Walmart rather than pursuing more funding.
Eighty percent of Eloquii’s customers work full-time, and the company has developed its 9-to-5 Kit and Premier Workwear Kit lines to address this need. The business appears ideally suited to fashion trends in the U.S. where more than 68 percent of women American women wear size 14 or larger, according to Plunkett Research. The current market for plus sizes, which is pegged at around $21 billion, is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.1 percent through 2015, according to Marketdata.
Eloquii will be added to a digital portfolio that now includes Bonobos, Hayneedle.com, Jet.com, ModCloth, Moosejaw, Shoes.com and Walmart.com. CEO Maria Chase and Eloquii’s staff will join Walmart’s e-commerce division, reporting to Mr. Dunn.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How will the acquisition of Eloquii stack up against other digital-first retailers acquired by Walmart in recent years? What do you expect Walmart to do with this brand that is either similar to or different from how it has handled past acquisitions?