Walmart buys Bonobos for $310 million

Getty Images for Bonobos

It appears Walmart's emphasis on clothing and e-commerce does little to impress investors against Amazon's technological gains and expansion into new industries, such as its latest grocery play. Many of these have been fuelled by its acquisition of Jet.com, which it purchased in 2016 for $3 billion.

Customers expressed their dismay on social media, calling the potential acquisition "brand suicide" and threatening to never shop at Bonobos again if it's acquired by Walmart.

Bononos, a men's clothing brand, launched online in 2007 and quickly expanded offline to open Bonobos Guideshop stores and gained a partnership with Nordstrom Inc. "Adding innovators like Andy will continue to help us shape the future of Walmart, and the future of retail".

While Walmart keeps trying to compete against Amazon by pushing harder into online, Amazon announced a bold move into brick-and-mortar stores Friday by saying it would buy Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion. Walmart won't sell Bonobos apparel in its stores, but will continue to offer it on Bonobos.com and possibly on Jet.com. They include Modcloth in March 2017, outdoor retailer Moosejaw for $51 million in February 2017, Hayneedle in March 2016, and Zappos-style shoe retailer ShoeBuy for $70 million from IAC.

The Bonobos deal, announced Friday, is expected to close at the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter of this fiscal year.

"You never know how things are going to be interpreted", Dunn said.


"What Moosejaw, ModCloth, Bonobos all have in common is not only that they are apparel retailers, but they have very authentic voices with a particular group", said Laura Kennedy, an analyst with research firm Kantar Retail.

According to Lore, Bonobos has created not only a great line of products but also offers an outstanding "customer experience".

Andy Dunn, Bonobos' founder and CEO, who is now taking on the role of senior vice president of digital consumer brands for Walmart US ecommerce, told Business Insider he was "extremely anxious" about how the news of the acquisition would go over.

In its own Facebook post reacting to the barrage of negative comments, it promised the brand wouldn't change under the new ownership.

"Ultimately, it's all just acquiring talent and capabilities to make Walmart.com, Wal-Mart e-commerce as a whole, all of these banners together run better", Kennedy said.

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