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FILE PHOTO: A Walmart store is seen in Encinitas, California April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
October 12, 2018
By Nandita Bose
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Walmart Inc <WMT.N> said on Friday it has acquired online lingerie retailer Bare Necessities for an undisclosed amount, its second apparel-focused acquisition in less than two weeks as it seeks deeper inroads into the online fashion space.
Walmart last week acquired Eloquii, a fashion startup that sells plus-sized clothing.
The company also tied up with comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to launch a women’s fashion line in August.
In 2017, the Bentonville, Arkansas based retailer partnered with department store chain Lord & Taylor and started offering its products on Walmart.com. Lord & Taylor is owned by Hudson’s Bay Co <HBC.TO>.
Walmart also last year bought ShoeBuy, which specializes in footwear and apparel; Moosejaw, which sells outdoor wear; Bonobos, which sells men’s clothing and ModCloth, an online seller of women’s apparel.
Walmart’s string of small fashion-company acquisitions is designed to help the retailer access younger, millennial customers who do not normally shop on its website, and recover ground lost to Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> and others.
The deal also reflects a sense of urgency to defend market share. According to a report from Morgan Stanley, Walmart had 8.6 percent of the U.S. apparel market in 2017, followed by Amazon at 7.9 percent and Target Corp <TGT.N> at 4.8 percent.
The report estimated Amazon will overtake Walmart as the leading retailer in the apparel category in 2018.
“The acquisition of Bare Necessities fits well into our broader acquisition strategy, which includes two different types of companies: category leaders … and digital brands that offer unique products,” Denise Incandela, head of fashion, Walmart U.S. eCommerce, said in a blog post.
Bare Necessities will continue to operate its site as before and will run as a standalone brand, she said. The company was founded in 1998 and offers more than 160 brands, including bras, swimwear, shapewear and sleepwear.
Walmart did not offer additional details on the impact of the acquisition to earnings and did not comment on how this buy will bolster its market share in the category.
Noah Wrubel, co-founder and chief executive of the lingerie retailer, will oversee the intimates category on Walmart.com and Jet.com, which Walmart acquired in 2016. Wrubel will also continue to run the Bare Necessities business.
The deal closed on Friday, Walmart said. The retailer’s shares ended up 0.95 percent at $94.81 per share.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis and Cynthia Osterman)