Wal-Mart Adding Lord & Taylor Products To Lineup
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has announced plans to add products from Lord & Taylor to its website. The companies are currently working through terms of a partnership that would make Lord & Taylor the “exclusive premium department-store partner” of Wal-Mart. Rumors of a proposed deal emerged last October.
Lord & Taylor products will be available via a dedicated section of Wal-Mart’s website. The landing page will launch on Walmart.com in spring 2018. The department store chain will also continue to operate its own e-commerce platform.
Lord & Taylor is America’s oldest department store. The company has called Manhattan home since 1826, when founder Samuel Lord opened his first store on Catherine Street. Lord & Taylor’s current owner, Canada’s Hudson’s Bay, operated 50 Lord & Taylor stores as of July 29. The company has seen a 39 percent decline in its shares over the past two years.
Adding Lord & Taylor could make Walmart.com more attractive for customers looking for high-end brands. Wal-Mart’s U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore pledged to “elevate the Walmart.com brand” at an investor meeting last month. The goal is to lure more premium sellers to the site.
In a statement, Denise Incandela, head of fashion for Wal-Mart’s U.S. e-commerce division, said, “Our goal is to create a premium fashion destination on Walmart.com.” Lore recently hired Incandela, who is a veteran of Ralph Lauren and previously worked as chief marketing officer for Saks Fifth Avenue. She joined Wal-Mart in October and is responsible for the company’s fashion business through Walmart.com, Jet.com and Shoes.com.
Wal-Mart is pushing to establish itself as an online fashion destination. The retailer’s strategy has been to acquire smaller brands with a focus on fashion. The company’s acquisition of startup Jet.com last year provided it with greater access to younger, higher-income shoppers. The company has also purchased the Bonobos, ModCloth, and Moosejaw brands in recent months. Wal-Mart is currently America’s biggest retailer.
The company declined to comment on whether there will be more brand partnerships in the future. Wal-Mart’s rival Amazon.com Inc. has also expanded aggressively into fashion in recent years. The moves are seen as forward thinking as many department stores are reeling from slow mall traffic and a shift to e-commerce.