Local ShoppingPlus brand Eloquii the latest to leave Walmart’s DTC portfolio

Plus brand Eloquii the latest to leave Walmart’s DTC portfolio

Dive Brief:

  • FullBeauty Brands on Friday said it has agreed to purchase plus-size fashion brand Eloquii from Walmart for an undisclosed amount.

  • Walmart also declined to disclose the selling price of the brand, which the retail giant bought in 2018 for a reported $100 million.

  • Eloquii will be the anchor tenant in a new FullBeauty digital mall, joined initially by SwimSuitsForAll and June+Vie, according to a company press release. Eloquii co-founder and Brand Leader Julie Carnevale is staying on.

Dive Insight:

This sale represents the latest brand to fall out of Walmart’s DTC portfolio, in a steady unwinding of what had been a years-long e-commerce acquisition spree that started with the blockbuster $3.3 billion purchase of would-be Amazon rival Jet.com.

The company most recently sold menswear brand Bonobos to Express Inc. and outdoor brand Moosejaw to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Many of the purchase amounts were undisclosed then and are undisclosed now, so it’s unclear how often Walmart is getting its money back. The company wound down Jet without selling it at all, and last week Bonobos sold for $75 million, less than a quarter of what Walmart paid for it in 2017.

In an emailed statement, a Walmart spokesperson said the company added Eloquii to its “portfolio of digitally native vertical brands to expand our Women’s assortment in sizes 14+, and offer unique and differentiated product in an underserved but growing segment.”

“Since acquiring ELOQUII, Walmart.com has grown to hundreds of millions of items, and we’ve decided it’s the right time to sell ELOQUII,” the spokesperson said.

It’s only the right time if Walmart takes full advantage of what it learned, especially in developing its own plus size private label, according to Liza Amlani, principal and co-founder of Retail Strategy Group.

“Gaining insights in how the DTC brand was able to successfully capture this market and get closer to their customer should be a win for Walmart,” she said by email. “I hope the retailer will fill this merchandising gap with their own private label program. Otherwise the sale is a huge mistake.”

By contrast, the 12-year-old DTC women’s apparel brand fits FullBeauty’s specialty in inclusive sizing. In a statement, FullBeauty CEO Jim Fogarty said, “This strategic acquisition complements our brands perfectly and allows us to leverage our scale and platform to support ELOQUII and our shared mission, and thereby accelerate our growth with this important demographic.”

It will allow the company to expand further into the $81 billion women’s plus fashion market in the U.S., which is growing three times faster than women’s apparel overall and remains an underserved market, per the release. The company also bought plus retailer Catherines at auction during apparel conglomerate Ascena bankruptcy two years ago. The year before, FullBeauty itself had taken a brief, 24-hour spin through bankruptcy.

“Our approach was critical to our recent successful acquisition and integration of Catherines and will be here as well,” Fogarty said. “While we hope to bring scale and platform expertise to bear, we will also humbly be learning from Julie and the talented ELOQUII team, who are the soul of the ELOQUII brand DNA, and who fortunately are joining us on this next phase of the ELOQUII journey.”

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