Traditionally frequented for economical grocery offerings such as $1 potato chips and $3 gallons of milk, Walmart is broadening its consumer appeal with an array of upscale, lucrative product lines. This move sees Walmart moving beyond its reputation as a primary discount retailer, aiming to establish itself as a go-to outlet for trendy clothing and home decor items.
Through collaborations with high-profile personalities including Drew Barrymore and Sofia Vergara, Walmart is introducing over a dozen new product lines. These offerings aim to complement Walmart's traditional low-margin grocery items, using them as a magnet to draw customers in for more profitable purchases.
Products including Reebok T-shirts, Justice accessories, and Chaps men's dress shirts will feature prominently in Walmart's revamped "Stores of the Future". The majority of these items fall within a $15-$50 price range, as unveiled by Denise Incandela, the Vice President of Apparel and Private Brands, at a recent investor conference on June 6.
Traditionally, Walmart has predominantly marketed its own clothing brand, featuring basic George T-shirts, shorts, and pants usually priced under $15. However, according to Incandela, a former executive at Saks and Ralph Lauren, research indicated that 80% of Walmart customers also shopped for more expensive clothing elsewhere.
To counter this, Walmart's new approach focuses on "democratizing fashion" - turning their budget-conscious customer base into style-conscious shoppers. This marks a significant shift in the company's apparel strategy.
While Americans continue to buy clothing, footwear, and home decor items from an assortment of local stores, regional chains, and online platforms, no single retailer has yet achieved complete dominance in these diverse markets. However, the sheer scale, size, and reputation of Walmart make it a formidable competitor for smaller retailers, particularly given its established practice of securing volume sales by negotiating aggressively on supplier prices.
While this strategy presents a potential risk to the market, it is not deemed to be an inordinate threat to larger retailers such as Target or Gap, according to Dean Rosenblum, Senior Research Analyst for Retail at Bernstein.