Walmart has announced a partnership with Lord & Taylor to establish an online store on Walmart.com for luxury apparel. The store, launching in the spring of 2018, will enjoy dedicated space on the website whereas Lord & Taylor will continue to run its own online platform.
Wal-Mart’s head of fashion for the chain’s U.S. e-commerce division, Denise Incandela, said in a statement that after noting the search patterns of their customers for high-end items, they decided to focus on improving the shopping experience, starting with fashion, by adding specialized and premium sections.
Incandela, who oversees fashion on Jet.com, Shoes.com and Walmart.com, has vast experience in fashion having worked for Saks Fifth Avenue, part of Hudson’s Bay empire which includes Lord & Taylor.
Liz Rodbell, Lord & Taylor’s President, said in a statement that Walmart.com has a huge customer base with affinity to high-end fashion and hence the collaboration presents an opening for massive growth.
Wal-Mart has been keen to grow its online presence in order to compete with Amazon and acquisition of smaller brands has been central to its strategy. The retailer bought Jet.com, which complements its grocery business, and now owns luxury brands Shoebuy, Bonobos, Moosejaw and Modcloth.
Quidsi co-founder Marc Lore, who now sits on the management team, said he expects to see improved user experiences and an elevation of Walmart.com brands when the website is redesigned to lay more emphasis on luxury and fashion while creating aspects of discovery and inspiration.
The partnership with Lord & Taylor is expected to elevate Walmart.com’s appearance to reflect an online destination for luxury brands rather than a discount site. Wal-Mart is also trying to drive store traffic to its stores by raising prices on select items on its website. This is to counter Amazon which doesn’t have the advantage of a vast brick-and-mortar presence.
Lord & Taylor has been experiencing waning sales volumes in a difficult environment and has announced that its Fifth Avenue store will soon be WeWork’s worldwide headquarters.
With competition all around, the partnership between Lord & Taylor and Wal-Mart comes in the wake of Amazon’s launch of Prime Wardrobe and its announcement of two new athletic apparel brands as part of its growing private-label empire. Furthermore, Kohl’s department store is helping Amazon reach more clients by selling the e-commerce giant’s electronics in its stores.