Walmart Inc. on Tuesday announced it has acquired plus-size apparel retailer Eloquii Design Inc. for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close later this quarter.
Eloquii was founded in 2011 as part of The Limited. It then folded before being reborn online as an independent web-only brand in 2014. The plus-size retailer, No. 816 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, sold an Internet Retailer-estimated $36.6 million online last year, a 22.0% jump from the previous year, according to Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com. However, that growth was a slowdown from the previous year, when its online sales jumped 42.9%.
Eloquii CEO Mariah Chase and the retailer’s roughly 100 employees will continue to be based in Long Island City, New York, and Columbus, Ohio. They will join Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce organization. Chase will report to Andy Dunn, senior vice president of digital consumer brands, Walmart U.S. e-commerce.
The brand is the latest digitally native retailer that Walmart has scooped up in recent years; last year the retail giant, No. 3, bought a number of digitally native, vertically integrated brands, including Bonobos and ModCloth.
“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,” writes Dunn in a blog post. “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.”
The acquisition fits within Walmart’s two-pronged acquisition strategy that aims to bolster Walmart.com and Jet.com by adding category expertise and assortment by adding merchants such as Shoes.com and Moosejaw, as well as buying brands that sell differentiated products that consumers can’t find elsewhere. The deal will bolster Walmart’s plus-size offerings, while also enabling it to sell unique plus-size items.
Walmart believes Eloquii will help it gain market share in the fast-growing plus-size women’s apparel market, which it believes is a $21 billion category.
“What makes a digital brand great is how it converts a pain point in the market into a source of delight for the customer,” Dunn writes. “It means creating real connections with people, building a spirited and interactive following, and offering customers an experience they can’t get anywhere else. It means offering a broad and growing range of great products for that customer and fundamentally elevating how they are served both online and offline. Eloquii allows us to do all these things.”