Last year, Bentonville retail giant Walmart created a new team developing differentiation. One answer: Buy cool stuff or more precisely acquire and grow digital-native retailers and the brands they own.
Today, Walmart agreed to acquire Eloquii, a four-year-old startup that makes and sells private brand plus-sized women’s clothing. Eloquii primary sales channel is online however it also owns five stores, as well as Dia&Co and Stitch Fix. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, a person familiar with the acquisition said Walmart will pay $100 million for Eloquii.
Andy Dunn, SVP of Digital Consumer Brands, Walmart US eCommerce comment on the acquisition in a post on the Walmart blog:
“This year, we’ve made great progress adding new brands, developing exclusive products, and launching new fashion partnerships. As the retail landscape evolves at light speed, we remain firm in our belief that it’s not just about selling brands, it’s also about building brands and customer relationships. As such, we are laser-focused on developing a portfolio of direct to consumer brands with a unique assortment you can’t find anywhere else. With that in mind, I’m thrilled to announce our plans to acquire ELOQUII.”
Dunn went on to aspirationally speak about the customer and the acquisition.
“Known for its trend-driven, fashion-focused assortment, ELOQUII is all about great-fitting and great-looking apparel specifically designed for women size 14 and up. Today, more than half of women age 18-65 in the US wear size 14+. We know they’re looking not just for basics, but also for on-trend pieces that allow them to express their individuality. This is a segment of the market that has been historically underserved and neglected. We believe she deserves better.
Today we stand in solidarity with her by acquiring a brand whose sole focus is to exceed her expectations.”
Walmart is betting Eloquii to help the retailer capture share in the $21 billion plus-sized clothing market. The Eloquii brand was originally created by now-defunct mall retailer The Limited in 2011 but was discontinued after 18 months. The brand was relaunched in 2014 after being acquired by a team of employees and an outside investor.