Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday it would buy online men's fashion retailer Bonobos Inc for $310 million, in its fourth e-commerce deal in under a year, as it seeks to bridge the gap with e-commerce leader Amazon.com Inc. "Your customers are mainly people like me, millennials who shop online so as to avoid giving our dollars.to community-killing super stores", one user wrote on Facebook.
Bonobos, launched in 2007 with a signature line of better-fitting men's trousers, opened physical "Guideshop" stores in 2011, and partnered with Nordstrom in 2012. The company said it would offer Bonobos brands through its recently-acquired Jet.com division and "possibly other Walmart brands in a variety of countries over time".
After the deal closes, Bonobos founder and CEO Andy Dunn will move over to Walmart's USA e-commerce division under Marc Lore, former CEO of Jet.com and current chief of Walmart's online operations, to oversee the company's collection of digitally-native vertical brands. Two months later, Walmart scooped up Moosejaw, an online outdoor gear and clothing retailer.
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"We began Bonobos 10 years ago to give men a completely different product and shopping experience: better fitting, higher quality clothing, in new and imaginative ways".
But sources previously told Recode that you shouldn't expect to see Bonobos trousers or shirts sold in Walmart stores or on Walmart.com. "In fact, Andy will be a great influence on the company, especially in leading our collection of exclusive brands offered online". In a statement, Wal-Mart said the Bonobos deal is part of this broader e-commerce strategy.
An ad for Bonobos.Facebook/BonobosWalmart just acquired Bonobos and some loyal fans of the menswear brand are deeply disturbed by the news.
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"Our company exists as a series of contrarian decisions", Dunn wrote in a blog post on Medium that was published Friday.
These shoppers' visceral reactions to the news might have something to do with there being little overlap in the customers of Bonobos and those of Walmart.
Walmart bought Jet.com nearly a year ago to up its competition against Amazon.
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The incursion by Amazon increases pressure on Wal-Mart to improve its e-commerce business - something the Bonobos deal is meant to address.