Walmart is selling off two more of its online brands — one of which is Shoes.com.
Last week, Israeli apparel maker Delta Galil Industries announced that it had snapped up online intimates retailer Bare Necessities, which was acquired by Walmart less than two years ago. Now, Shoes.com is being divested to affiliates of private equity firm CriticalPoint Capital, which owns footwear retailer JackRabbit and athletic chain Olympia Sports. (The news was first reported by Bloomberg.)
In January 2017, Walmart snagged Boston-based online shoe retailer ShoeBuy from media and internet conglomerate InterActiveCorp for roughly $70 million. That same month, Canadian e-commerce shoe retailer Shoes.com announced that it had shuttered its operations, including its websites Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com and ShoeMe.ca, as well as its two brick-and-mortar locations in Vancouver and Toronto.
A few months later, Walmart paid $9 million for the Shoes.com domain — where customers who type in ShoeBuy.com would be redirected. It is understood that Shoes.com handles the footwear merchandising for all of Walmart’s websites.
“We’ve acquired e-tailers to expand Walmart’s assortment and enhance our customer experience in specialty categories, like footwear and intimates,” Walmart’s global e-commerce senior director of public relations, Ravi Jariwala, said in a statement to FN. “Owning Shoes.com and Bare Necessities has enabled us to improve our customer experience, add robust content and substantially grow our assortment in these categories.”
He added, “Shoes and Bare now offer the majority of their brands and assortment on Walmart.com, and the number of customers we’re serving in these categories on Walmart.com, along with the corresponding sales volume, is very different than before each acquisition. This transition marks an exciting new chapter for both Shoes and Bare and allows each to focus solely on continuing its own growth under new ownership.”
Currently, the company still owns the Moosejaw, Bonobos, Eloquii, Hayneedle, Allswell and Art.com sites.
The divestments follow the big-box behemoth’s decision to wind down Jet.com four years after purchasing it for more than $3 billion. In its first-quarter report in May, the company announced that it would be discontinuing the website it scooped up when the site was just over a year old. When Walmart acquired Jet in 2016, analysts had largely categorized the move as an “educational buy” that would allow the retail giant to use the site as the learning foundation to grow its own e-commerce business.
The moves also come nearly a year after Walmart agreed to hand over ModCloth to brand investment firm Go Global Retail. Through subsidiary Jet.com, the retailer bought the women’s apparel business in March 2017 in a bid to broaden its portfolio, expand its digital presence and attract younger fashion-focused shoppers.
After acquiring various online brands in recent years, Walmart is overhauling its omnichannel strategy in the United States to better compete with rival Amazon. Just days ago, Walmart emerged as an unlikely bidder for TikTok as it seeks to broaden its advertising and expand its third-party marketplace. On Thursday, the company confirmed that it had partnered with Microsoft — the frontrunner in talks to snap up the Chinese-owned video app — for an acquisition of TikTok’s operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which could be worth up to $50 billion.
This story has been updated with a statement from Walmart.
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