Walmart’s Next Step in War with Amazon and Target: Fashion

Walmart is launching new private-label clothing brands, a move its rivals Target and Amazon have made as well. The world's largest retailer is unveiling four new lines for women, men and children with items from $5 to $30 that will be available Thursday. It's the most ambitious clothing launch in years for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company, which is trying to shed its just-basics image and become a destination for trendier products from food to home design.

Walmart says the move comes in response to its customers' desire for more fashionable items like skinny jeans, ruffled clothes and bohemian looks.

"She wants understandable fashion," said Deanah Baker, senior vice president of apparel for Walmart's U.S. division. "She wants to look smart and stylish. She doesn't need to walk down the runway."

Online leader Amazon and discount rival Target have also been building their own clothing brands, a move that helps boost profit margins because it eliminates the middleman and is exclusive to that retailer.

Amazon has moved deeper into fashion, offering its own labels like Lark + Ro that often sell for less than similar name-brand items. It started testing a subscription service last year called Prime Wardrobe, which lets customers try on clothes at home before they actually purchase them. And analysts at Cowen & Co. expect Amazon to pass Macy's as the largest U.S. clothing seller, and boost its share of the U.S. clothing market from 6.6 percent last year to more than 16 percent by 2021.

Target refreshed its clothing lines and saw its baby and children's brand Cat & Jack hit more than $2 billion in sales in its first year through last July. It also launched a home decor line called Pillowfort. This month, Target said it's testing a Cat & Jack subscription box for babies of six to seven items....

Comments are closed.