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Walmart to buy Bonobos for $310 mn

news
17 June 2017

In a move aimed at boosting its efforts to build an online fashion business, Walmart yesterday announced that it would acquire menswear site Bonobos for $310 million in cash.

The deal comes as part of a wider strategy at Walmart, the world's largest physical retailer, to grow its e-commerce business, partly to offset competition from Amazon.

But, perhaps more by intent than coincidence Amazon also announced it would be buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. According to commentators the move would give Amazon a significant advantage in the food retail business (See: Amazon to by Whole Foods, sends jitters thru US grocery market).

They added the move underscored even more, how important it was for Walmart to continue expanding into new areas.

Walmart's Bonobos deal comes after other acquisitions, the retailer had made in the area of online fashion, including Modcloth in March 2017, outdoor retailer Moosejaw for $51 million in February 2017.

In March 2016, the  also bought Hayneedle in March 2016, and Zappos-style shoe retailer ShoeBuy for $70 million from IAC.

Many of these had been fuelled by its acquisition of Jet.com, which it acquired in 2016 for $3 billion.

Rumours had been doing the rounds about the deal between Bonobos and Walmart. Bonobos founder, Andrew Dunn, will be ''taking on a bigger and new role for us at eCommerce,'' a Walmart spokesperson said, ''overseeing our digital vertical brands.

Bonobos, founded 10 years ago in New York, started selling simple chino pants on the internet, and in recent years had expanded to offer shirts, suits and other men's clothing, and had opened dozens of brick-and-mortar locations, as also boutiques in Nordstrom department stores, a previous investor in the start-up.

However, even as Bonobos had become a more  conventional retailer, it had maintained its online ethos, offering generous shipping and return policies. It called its customer-service agents ninjas.





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