Walmart is adding to its online portfolio of brands, as it brings a new plus-sized specialist e-tailer into its ranks.
Since acquiring Jet.com in 2016, Walmart has been shifting its focus away from the traditional department store model to increase its e-commerce presence. The big-box retailer’s acquisition of plus-sized online player, Eloquii marks Walmart’s latest foray into the world of digital commerce.
Eloquii will join a growing number of online brands under the Walmart mast, including the likes of Jet.com, ModCloth, Bonobos and Allswell.
Walmart announced its acquisition of Eloquii on Tuesday for an undisclosed amount. Sources have reportedly told CNBC, however, that the sale price would have been in the ballpark of $100 million.
When Eloquii first entered the US fashion scene its products were sold in teenage fashion store, The Limited. When the outlet shut its doors in 2013, Eloquii emerged as a digital-only brand before re-entering the traditional retail market in 2017.
In the last 12-months, Americans have spent $21.4 billion on women’s full-sized clothing, a number which is predicted to grow at a rate of four percent each year until 2020. For Walmart, the acquisition of Eloquii is a relatively affordable way for the retail giant to tap into this growing market.
According to Walmart, Eloquii will continue trading as normal, with its 100 workers expected to stay on after the sale finalises later in the year.
The plus-sized fashion market in Australia has also seen exponential growth over the past few years, with the average Australian woman now wearing size 14 clothing.
Showpo and Ally Fashion are among a growing number of fashion retailer’s that are expanding their sizing, as traditional sizes six to 12 are no longer sufficient in catering to key consumer demographics.
Specialty Fashion Group’s, City Chic, is a perfect example of a brand capitalising in the plus-size fashion boom. By the end of 2018, Specialty Fashion’s CEO, Daniel Bracken, estimates City Chic will generate between $19 and $20 million in revenue. The brand has also seen its online sales grow 45 percent in a relatively short period of time.
According to Specialty Fashion, the success of this brand can be attributed to both its focus on a niche fashion market that has been traditionally overlooked by mainstream retailers and its expansion into international markets.
The brand has expanded beyond its own retail offerings, with concessions in Myer and American department store chain, Macy’s, while also operating international stores in South Africa and six stores in California over in the states.
This international growth is in line with recent research from Australia Post that suggests Australian retailers need to look to international markets if they want to find success both at home and in a broader marketplace.
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