Walmart Goes After Millennials—And Amazon—With Modcloth, Bonobos and a New Private Label CollectionOctober 3, 2017
By Caletha Crawford | Sourcing Journal
For those who were scratching their heads about how niche apparel brands fit into the Walmart ecosystem, the company is starting to reveal its strategy.
Though Modcloth and Bonobos may have seemed like an odd fit for the everyday low price retailer—or even Jet.com, its previous acquisition, which also sells on price—sources close to the businesses say expect to see those brands on a repositioned Jet in the next few months.
The Wall Street Journal reports Walmart plans to take Jet more upmarket with the addition of these labels plus the launch of a new private label grocery and pantry line. Dubbed Uniquely J, it will also include baby products, beauty items and pet goods going forward.
A spokesperson told the publication the goal is to attract a “metro millennial consumer”—a consumer who apparently was none too interested in Walmart’s private label goods, which had been selling on Jet. Tech Crunch said the company believes the collection will skew younger because of its quality ingredients, product copy and “edgy, bold design,” which includes tattoo-inspired artwork product names like “badass espresso” and slang like “nom nom” for food related items.
Initially Uniquely J will sell only on Jet, but sources told the New York Post they’ll be set to debut on Walmart.com after the first year and could even find their way to Walmart shelves in the future.
The product offering and target consumers puts Uniquely J in competition with Whole Foods/assortment and shoppers, who can now access the chain’s 365 Everyday Value private label items on Amazon post-acquisition. The e-commerce giant reportedly sold $1.6 million in 365 goods in the first month they were available on the site.
Amazon’s growing success in the food arena has some suppliers worried.
“The branded vendors are privately telling us that they are relieved about the Jet.com division becoming a big private-label seller,” retail consultant Burt Flickinger told the Post. “They see Jet.com as the best opportunity to slow Amazon’s march towards making unreasonable demands in its procurement.”
In a move that parallels a Target venture, Jet is also planning to enter the boxed mattress market. The bull’s eye retailer announced it has taken a stake in Casper and would start selling the brand, which is one of the many startups offering mattress online.