Walmart Notches Another Digital Acquisition

Purchase of Bonobos is latest buy

Author: Monica Melton

June 16, 2017

Walmart agreed to acquire online apparel brand Bonobos for $310 million, adding to a list of digital acquisitions of companies that don’t necessarily align with the retail giant’s core customer base.

Since Walmart’s acquisition of last year, it has made acquisitions of digital retailers focusing on women’s apparel (ModCloth), shoes (ShoeBuy) and outdoor gear (MooseJaw).

US apparel and accessories ecommerce sales are expected to reach $84.21 billion this year, according to eMarketer estimates, a gain of 15.4% over 2016. Growth is expected to continue in the double digits through 2020.

While strictly a digital brand, Bonobos merged online and offline channels by setting up “guideshops” where customers can try on clothes and work with personal shoppers in a physical store.

The purchase, while dwarfed by Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, is part of a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the retail and CPG space. Deal activity in the US retail and consumer products space in Q1 2017 reached its highest level in the past 10 years, totaling 393 announced transactions that are valued at a combined $91.8 billion, according to a study by global accounting firm and consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), citing Thomson Reuters data.