Walmart is expanding its selection online and off through partnerships and through acquisitions. It is creating an automotive specialty store on Walmart.com in partnership with Advance Auto Parts; it’s introducing a new dedicated collectibles section in the entertainment department of thousands of US stores; and it has acquired two fashion brands.
Walmart eCommerce executive Phillip Oaks said, “This year, we’ve been incredibly focused on building our offering on Walmart.com to ensure we have the specialty assortment that our customers are looking for.”
The online automotive store will begin rolling out on Walmart.com in the first half of 2019 and will provide Walmart customers with access to Advance’s extensive portfolio of aftermarket automotive parts, accessories and maintenance items.
Meanwhile Walmart is offering a “one-stop shop” for pop culture merchandise at over 3,500 stores beginning this week. It will be the exclusive brick-and-mortar retail home for Loot Crate, which is a subscription box available for Walmart customers to purchase in store. It will make it is debut at Walmart with six different themed boxes featuring top movie, TV and game franchises “reimagined as limited edition collectibles”: Best of the 80s, Space Out, Merc with a Mouth, Not of this World, Gaming Treasures, and Gaming Legends – each box will cost $19.88.
Walmart is also moving Funko merchandise from the toy department to the new collectibles section.
The retail giant has also made some notable fashion-brand acquisitions, acquiring a “a digitally native vertical brand” called ELOQUII that Walmart says “has a direct connection with its customers that helps inform how products get developed, how they’re marketed, and how the brand comes to life.”
And Walmart acquired Bare Necessities, a leading intimates online retailer that will join the Walmart U.S. eCommerce portfolio.
Walmart explained that its broader acquisition strategy 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. Think Hayneedle, Moosejaw, Shoes.com and the newly acquired Bar Necessities;
2) Digital brands that offer unique products customers can’t find anywhere else. Think Bonobos, Modcloth and the recently-acquired ELOQUII.
Below is part of a slide presented at today’s 2018 Walmart Investment Community Meeting.