Almost 20 years after Walmart debuted a tween collection with “Full House” child-stars (turned bona fide fashion industry figures) Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Walmart is boasting about the growth of its online sales, thanks in large part to its fashion offerings. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based multinational retail giant revealed this week that its domestic e-commerce sales grew by 37 percent due to “strong growth” in digital grocery sales, as well as sales of home and fashion goods.
While Walmart may not have the Olsen twins in its roster of brands any more following a several years-long partnership, which served to “lift Walmart’s profile with young fashionistas, providing them with trendy threads that were a far cry from the chain’s bland (but cheap) basics,” per CBS, it does have a new stable of brands and – and plans – to cater to a bit more of a fashion-focused demographic than its traditional big-box retail chain, low-priced laundry detergent and paper towels-buying clientele.
Initially under the watch of Joel Anderson – who was appointed as CEO of Walmart.com U.S. in 2011 (before stepping down in June 2014) – and most recently, Jet.com founder Marc Lore, who took the role of CEO of Walmart’s US e-commerce operations in 2016, Walmart has been on an e-commerce acquisition spree, snapping up the likes of Jet.com, ModCloth, Eloquii, and Bare Necessities, among others, and plans to reportedly launch a competitor to Everlane, the brand known for its “modern essentials” at reasonable prices. All of this comes in furtherance of its mission to overhaul its offerings from those of a discount chain to something more streamlined and stylish in an attempt to better compete with Amazon but also to lure younger consumers, such as Gen Z shoppers.
And it seems to be working. Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Global Data, told Retail Dive that Walmart’s online sales spike “makes it one of the best growing mature retailers in the online market … and a major competitive force in e-commerce, capable of capturing shopper share from Amazon and others.”