Walmart is expanding its reach into the online fashion space with its latest acquisition of ModCloth, a young, hip online clothing retailer popular with 18-35 year-old women.
ModCloth gained popularity by offering unique designs and exclusive fashion, shoes, handbags and accessories that cater to different body types. The company is one of the largest online fashion retailers in the world, with an engaged community and strong social media following, thanks to its pioneering approach of promoting “size diversity, lifestyle inclusiveness and body positivity since it was founded in 2002,” according to its website.
ModCloth offers an extensive catalog of items, from national brands to independent designers to private label apparel. They have one physical store in Austin, Texas, where customers can meet one-on-one with stylists.
Walmart intends to capture the coveted millennial market with this acquisition, as well as to build its reach in the online fashion industry. The company said in a statement: “Apparel and accessories is the No. 1 category for digital commerce, according to comScore, and we gain the experience of a well-recognized specialty apparel e-commerce brand that’s trusted by millions of millennial women.”
ModCloth’s customers were not happy about the news. Many wrote the company and expressed their opinions over social media, afraid that teaming with Walmart would somehow dilute the brand and its emphasis on diversity and unique designs.
ModCloth’s website countered this argument, stating: “Our brand purpose, values, and company culture remain intact, and in fact we see this as a great opportunity to amplify our message and share our values with a larger audience. We will continue to support women’s rights through living our values of inclusivity, body positivity, and female empowerment. Helping all women feel like the best version of themselves will remain our purpose, and we’ll continue to pioneer the changes in the fashion industry that we want to see in the world. Being the most inclusive fashion brand in America is an ambitious goal, and this partnership now accelerates these efforts. As we get to know our new colleagues at Jet and Walmart, we’ll look for ways to partner together to amplify our message and accelerate our efforts.”
ModCloth will join Walmart’s U.S.-based e-Commerce operation via Jet.com, and the company’s CEO and 300 employees will continue to be based in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh (the city where it was founded).
According to a statement by Walmart: “The ModCloth team will continue to operate its site and store as a standalone and complementary brand to our other e-commerce sites.”