Walmart to Buy Plus-Size Brand Eloquii in Latest Fashion Push
(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. is moving further into the plus-size market.
The world’s biggest retailer plans to acquire Eloquii, a fashion brand that was shuttered by the Limited five years ago only to be revived the following year as an independent company. Terms weren’t disclosed, although the website Recode reported that Walmart is paying $100 million for the business, which has tripled its sales since 2015, according to a Walmart announcement.
The deal is the latest move by Walmart to improve its dowdy apparel business, and follows the launch earlier this year of a new plus-size store brand, Terra & Sky, as well as last year’s acquisitions of fashion sites ModCloth and Bonobos and a partnership with Lord & Taylor. Walmart wants apparel to be a bigger part of its burgeoning online business, and last year hired Denise Incandela, a veteran of Ralph Lauren and Saks, to run its e-commerce fashion team.
Eloquii focuses exclusively on sizes 14 and above, catering to a market that Walmart says is $21 billion and “historically underserved.” The business began as an online-only merchant, though has since opened five stores and employs about 100 people.
Historically, retailers have given short shrift to plus-size fashions, hiding them far away from the rest of their womenswear. But lately the segment has garnered more attention and investment, inspired partly by celebrities like Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson.
“As retailers are looking for growth, they’d be hard pressed not to consider this customer,” Mariah Chase, Eloquii’s chief executive officer, said in 2015. Chase will retain her position after the acquisition, Walmart said.
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