Walmart U.S. eCommerce on Friday said that is has acquired for an undisclosed amount Bare Necessities, the largest online specialty retailer of intimate apparel. The brand will join the portfolio of Walmart e-commerce labels.
The acquisition follows fast on the heels of a deal on Oct. 2 engineered by Andy Dunn, senior vice president of digital consumer brands at Walmart U.S. eCommerce, to buy plus-size brand Eloquii.
Bare Necessities will continue to operate its site as it has and will run as a stand-alone brand. Walmart said that “over time, for those brands that would like to serve additional customers, we will work to integrate the Bare Necessities’ assortment onto walmart.com and jet.com.”
Bare Necessities, which was founded in 1998, offers more than 100,000 stockkeeping units from more than 160 brands, including an extensive assortment of bras, swimwear, shapewear and sleepwear. Brands sold on barenecessities.com include Wacoal, Chantelle, Natori, SPANX, DKNY, Calvin Klein, La Perla, Wolford, Bali, Maidenform, Playtex and Warner’s, among others.
The site, which sells bra bands in sizes 28 to 56 and cups AA to O is “most known for helping women find the perfect bra. That mission, and our team, will not change. In fact, joining forces with Walmart provides the opportunity to help even more women discover the intimates they are looking for,” said a blog on the e-tailer’s site.
“The acquisition of Bare Necessities fits well into our broader acquisition strategy, which includes two different types of companies,” said Denise Incandela, senior vice president of fashion of Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce sites walmart.com, jet.com and shoes.com, in a blog post on Walmart’s corporate web site. She defined the first type of company as category leaders with specialized expertise and assortments that can help enhance the customer experience on walmart.com and jet.com, giving as examples, Hayneedle, Moosejaw and Shoes.com.
The second type are digitally native brands that offer unique products that customers can’t find anywhere else such as Bonobos, Modcloth and Eloquii. Bare Necessities fits into the first type of company, category leaders, Incandela said.
For that reason, Walmart U.S. eCommerce was eager to hire Noah Wrubel, Bare Necessities‘ co-founder chief executive officer and Bill Richardson, co-founder and chief operating officer. They’ll join Walmart and lead the intimates category for walmart.com and jet.com, and the Bare Necessities team will join Walmart U.S. eCommerce.
Intimates, a category that has been aggressively growing online, “has complex sizing and highly specialized products. Bare Necessities brings deep segment expertise to demystify a complex category shopping experience and operational capabilities specifically designed for the intimates business,” Incandela said. “Bare Necessities will also bring deep category expertise, a content offering designed to educate intimates shoppers, as well as strong brand relationships.”
Incandela may be referring to the fact that some brands that sell on Bare Necessities might not agree to sell directly to walmart.com, especially the higher-priced labels such as La Perla, Chantelle and Natori.
“We’re establishing ourselves as a fashion destination across all our platforms,” said Incandela. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer has been reinventing its e-commerce business with its digitally native vertical brands and premium brands such as Lord & Taylor. Walmart.com recently launched EV1 by Ellen DeGeneres. The retailer in August launched a Premium Outdoor Store on walmart.com curated by Moosejaw, a vertical that Walmart acquired in 2017.
Walmart.com relaunched the home and apparel parts of its web site with cleaner graphics, elevated photography and an overall more sophisticated look. “Customers are starting to see a different experience when they shop walmart.com for fashion. We’re offering editorial content to inspire customers. And, we’re significantly expanding our assortment.”
Bare Necessities offered its customers the rationale behind its sale to Walmart U.S. eCommerce. “You may be wondering: ‘Why Walmart?'” the online intimates player said. “Walmart has done a lot over the past year to establish itself as a destination for fashion, from acquiring specialty retailers and digitally native brands, to aggressively expanding its fashion assortment. As we began conversations with their team, we realized how much we had in common around customer commitment, and that we could do even more if we combine our expertise in intimates with Walmart’s deep resources, scale and relationships.”