After last month’s acquisition of Shoebuy.com, an online retailer of apparel and footwear with an outdoor bent, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday announced that it has paid $51 million for Moosejaw, a web site selling apparel and footwear with an outdoor focus.
This story first appeared in the February 16, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While the size of the acquisitions are relatively small — Wal-Mart paid IAC $70 million for Shoebuy.com — the Bentonville, Ark. retail giant seems to be collecting web sites selling apparel and shoes at higher price points than walmart.com.
Wal-Mart in September revealed its $3.3 billion acquisition of Jet.com, which operates separately from walmart.com.
Seeking digital talent, Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart Stores’ president and chief executive officer, tapped Jet.com founder Marc Lore as president and ceo of Wal-Mart global e-commerce. McMillon sees Jet.com as the vehicle that will help close the gap with the $136 billion Amazon, which could otherwise continue to engulf walmart.com, which trails with $14 billion in sales.
Shoebuy.com, a deal that closed Dec. 30, was seen as a turning point for Wal-Mart when it comes to fashion. The deal also puts further pressure on Amazon since Shoebuy is a direct competitor of the Amazon-owned e-tailer Zappos.
Moosejaw, which sells more than 400 brands, including Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot and Arc’teryx, among others, further establishes Wal-Mart in the outdoor apparel arena. Moosejaw offers an extensive assortment of clothing and gear for climbing, hiking, camping, snow sports, yoga, swimming and biking. There are some overlaps with Shoebuy, which sells jackets from Patagonia, Marmot and Arc’teryx. Moosejaw covers some of the same ground with shoes by Sorel, Ugg and Merrel. In addition to a strong web presence, Moosejaw operates 10 physical stores.
The characteristics of the Shoebuy.com and Moosejaw deals are similar. Like Shoebuy.com, Moosejaw will continue to operate its site and stores and will be run as a stand-alone business and complementary brand to Wal-Mart’s other e-commerce sites. In what has become Wal-Mart’s modus operandi when purchasing e-commerce sites, Moosejaw’s ceo Eoin Comerford, his executive team and Moosejaw’s 350-plus employees will continue to be based in Michigan, and will join Wal-Mart’s new U.S. e-commerce retail organization.
Both Shoebuy and Moosejaw are well-established. The former has been operating since 1999 and the latter launched in 1992.
Wal-Mart reiterated that “apparel and accessories is now the number-one category for digital commerce, according to comScore, and we gain the experience of another well-established e-commerce player in the active outdoor category. Moosejaw has a large assortment of specialty apparel and accessories, strong industry relationships and rich product content. Their expertise will help us further enhance our customer experience.”
Wal-Mart appealed to Moosejaw suppliers who might normally eschew walmart.com, saying that those “interested in expanding their consumer reach will now have the opportunity to serve more customers through Jet.com and our other e-commerce sites.”