Walmart acquires Bare Necessities to expand online offerings

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 630 views 

Walmart announced late Friday (Oct. 12)  the acquisition of Bare Necessities, an e-commerce retailer focusing on women’s undergarments, foundation wear. swimwear and lingerie and men’s undergarments.

The deal is the second e-commerce purchase in recent weeks for Walmart who continues to focus on growing market share against Amazon, while also keying in on higher-margin categories.

Financial terms of the Bare Necessities deal, which closed Friday, were not disclosed. Noah Wrubel, Bare Necessities co-founder and CEO, will oversee the intimates category across Walmart.com and Jet.com while continuing to run the Bare Necessities business which offers more than 100,000 items from 160 brands. Wrubel and co-founder Bill Richardson and their 170 employees will continue to work from the company’s Edison, N.J., offices.

“As we continue to build our assortment, we are also focused on bringing on the right talent and expertise to drive our fashion business. With that in mind, today, I’m thrilled to announce the acquisition of Bare Necessities, a leading intimates online retailer, who will join the Walmart U.S. eCommerce portfolio,” said Denise Incandela, head of fashion at Walmart. U.S. eCommerce.

Walmart said the acquisition of Bare Necessities fits into its broader acquisition strategy, which includes two different types of companies: 1) category leaders with specialized expertise and assortment that can help enhance the customer experience on Walmart.com and Jet.com (Hayneedle, Moosejaw and Shoes.com), and 2) digital brands that offer unique products customers can’t find anywhere else (think Bonobos, Modcloth and the recently-acquired ELOQUII). Bare Necessities fits into the former.

Bare Necessities was founded in 1998 and has been growing aggressively online in the intimates category which has complex sizing and highly specialized products. The company’s annual sales are estimated at $66 million. Walmart said the deal will bring deep category expertise to the Walmart family of brands and Bare Necessities will benefit from Walmart’s scale and financial stability.

Walmart said Bare Necessities will continue to operate as its own site and will run as a stand alone complimentary brand to Walmart’s growing e-commerce portfolio. The retailer said over time those brands that want to serve more customers will see opportunities to integrate Bare Necessities into Walmart.com and Jet.com.

“Customers are starting to see a different experience when they shop Walmart.com for fashion. The shopping experience is clean and modern. We’re offering editorial content to inspire customers. And, we’re significantly expanding our assortment, including introducing new brands like the recently launched exclusive EV1 line with Ellen DeGeneres and our Lord & Taylor premium brands,” Incandela noted in her blog post.

Walmart is expected to give more clarity on the recent acquisitions of Eloquii and Bare Necessities to Wall Street analysts on Tuesday (Oct. 16) at the company’s annual investor conference in Bentonville.

Walmart shares (NYSE: WMT) closed Friday at $94.81, up 89 cents. The 52-week share price has ranged from $81.78 to $109.98. Year-to-date Walmart shares are down 3.9%.

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