Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) is planning to start selling upscale products from Lord & Taylor via its online store. In addition to the items offered by L&T, Walmart.com's broader fashion offerings will highlight watches, luggage and travel, seasonal shops and premium beauty.
Adding new retail brands and products to its website will help Walmart compete with Amazon, which is poised to surpass Walmart to become the number one apparel retailer in the country later this year. According to CNBC, shoppers have been actively searching the retailer's existing ecommerce sites for premium brands, said Denise Incandela, head of fashion for Walmart's U.S. e-commerce operations.
Set to launch in phases in the coming weeks, the "store within a store" on Walmart's website will feature more than 125 brands sold at Lord & Taylor, including Tommy Bahama, Vince Camuto and Lucky Brand.
The price differences between the two tabs is significant.
Walmart also has been on an acquisition spree, buying online retailer Jet.com, which appeals to a higher-income shopper, two years ago. Alternatively, some of the dresses on the "premium brands" site cost between $41 and $159.
The arrangement, first announced in November, is geared toward giving Walmart a boost in the online market for luxury goods while helping Hudson Bay Co.'s Lord & Taylor reach new audiences. The companies have declined to talk about the financial terms of the deal, and until Tuesday, revealed few details about how the partnership would work. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Walmart says it's responding to demand that's already present on its site.
The deal does offer special advantages for Walmart, which is generally considered a downmarket retail brand, both online and at its almost 12,000 stores worldwide. "This is an example of how we are thinking differently and innovating", said RJ Cilley, senior vice president of Lord & Taylor's digital division, in comments reported by CNBC. "This is a completely new model for us".