And that’s coming from me – someone who loves all things retail, particularly when they involve dapper men in suits.
My underwhelming reaction is due to the fact that this is one of many online retail acquisitions Walmart has shepherded over the last few months. For starters, it acquired ModCloth in March, as well as Hayneedle and ShoeBuy, and in February it acquired Moosejaw (an outdoor apparel company – not a dental insurance agency for moose). It also acquired Jet.com for $3 billion in 2016.
Although this acquisition may not come as a surprise, Walmart’s transition towards online retail does remain a strategic one. As DisCo has previously noted, retail closings are expected to break a 20-year record in 2017, topping 6,000 unit closings. E-Commerce, conversely, is surging, with sales totaling almost $400 billion in 2016. Though this is a small percentage of the total retail revenue, it reflects a broader movement that doesn’t seem to be wavering.
And yet, we are not seeing companies adopt digital platforms in lieu of traditional storefronts. Rather, a hybrid model, that offers the immediacy of brick-and-mortar with the efficiency of e-Commerce, is all the rage.