Walmart launches fashion designer Brandon Maxwell’s first spring collection

Walmart is launching the Free Assembly spring collection, created by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell.

Walmart

As shoppers get ready for spring, Walmart is launching new fashions to try to appeal to consumers who are looking for a style that suits their budget.

The retailer is about to announce spring collections for Free Assembly and Scoop, two of Walmart’s exclusive apparel brands. The first brands were from Brandon Maxwell, a fashion designer and judge on Bravo’s “Project Runway”. Maxwell has her own luxury brand and a history of dressing famous women from Michelle Obama to Lady Gaga. Walmart exploit him as the brand’s creative director last spring.

The new collections include clothing and accessories and will be rolling out on the brand’s website and select stores in the coming weeks. It’s part of Walmart’s ambitious push to become the go-to destination for affordable fashion — not just a purveyor of socks, t-shirts and other basics. Nearly 60% of Walmart’s annual revenue comes from groceries, but clothing, home decor, and other casual items are more profitable and can boost the amount of items in people’s baskets. shopping.

Maxwell says customers will notice enhanced details on tops, skirts and other items, such as metal studs, certified vegan leather, and a unique denim wash. Items in the spring collection range in price from $8 to $75.

“I hope people will feel the quality, which is something we are really proud of,” he said. “Clothes are an intimate experience, and that’s about how it feels.”

Denise Inc.

Along with Free Assembly and Scoop, Walmart has two other exclusive brands: Sofia Jeans, a line developed with actress Sofia Vergara; and Eloquii Elements, a full-size women’s line inspired by the brand that acquired Eloquii. It has also added more national brands to its website and store, including sportswear from Champion and girls’ clothing and accessories from Justice.

Walmart declined to share growth or revenue figures for apparel sales – but there are some signs that its strategy is working. During last week’s earnings call, CEO Doug McMillon call out clothes was one of the strongest categories during the holiday quarter.

Buy clothes in store, online

As the spring collections roll out, Walmart is using its stores and website to promote its own brands.

Free Assembly’s spring collection features nearly 500 pieces of clothing for men, women, and children. The collection will be carried by 1,000 stores – about 20% of the retailer’s more than 4,700 stores in the US. That number of stores is twice as many as last spring.

“It’s actually one of the biggest ways to get exposure to brands – by increasing the number of stores – because people see it in stores and then they buy it online and in stores. goods,” Incandela said.

The Scoop Women’s Collection will be available in 500 stores and on the Walmart website. It includes 56 products, ranging from denim, skirts to shoes.

The company’s push into inspired fashion Walmart to acquire Zeekit, a virtual fitting room startup with technology that can be incorporated into a website.

Walmart is also experimenting with how goods look in stores. It refurbished a store near its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas to showcase Walmart-owned and national brands. It widens aisles, adds lighting and mannequins, and places branded stores forward.

According to Incandela, that design will be used in more stores.

“We wanted to make the product the hero and eliminate the clutter so customers could see the quality and style of the product – and it was working,” Incandela said. “Customers are looking for an inspiring shopping experience where they can browse and discover.”

‘A basket booster’

Last year, industry-wide apparel sales in the US topped pre-pandemic levels both in dollars and units. Sales in this category grew to a record $246.2 billion last year, up 9% from 2019 and up 33% from 2020, according to The NPD Group, a market research firm. school.

Kristen Classi-Zummo, NPD’s fashion apparel industry analyst, said comparisons this spring will be difficult as clothing retailers increase compared to the months Americans are comfortable spending to work. new to their wardrobe after getting vaccinated and looking forward to being more socially active, said Kristen Classi-Zummo, an NPD fashion apparel industry analyst.

She expects apparel sales to be softer in 2022, with some shoppers flocking to luxury items and others hunting for deals.

Incandela says shoppers want vibrant pieces as the weather warms up, and they crave a sense of normalcy. She says value is also important as the price of food and other things go up.

“Both collections will position people having fun and having fun and expressing themselves in a modern, fresh way, and at a price that is exceptional when people pay attention to inflation,” she said.

Michael Baker, a retail analyst at DA Davidson, said Walmart’s fashion offerings could help “moderate-income customers trade up a bit.” While going grocery shopping or running to the store to buy light bulbs, she might as well see a blouse to buy, he said.

“I don’t necessarily see it as a traffic driver,” he said. “I view it more as a basket enhancer.”

The fashion push is also a competitive move, after Amazon Walmart is not protected become the country’s leading apparel retailer during the pandemic, according to research by Wells Fargo.

Customers are more likely to turn to Walmart for apparel shopping as the conflicting dynamics of inflation and the reopening economy are pulling their wallets and omicron peaks, Baker said. speak.

“Those things can come together to be a positive for Walmart,” he said. “You have a need – perhaps, those people want to go out and refresh their wardrobe – and then you have market share potential for Walmart because consumers are going to feel a little pinched in those places. other places.”

Baker says Walmart is turning to ‘s book Targeta major canned goods retailer that has launched successful private fashion brands, has made these brands the focal point of its stores and is known for its low-cost luxury.

Walmart, the nation’s largest grocery store, is still building muscle on fashion and learning how to present clothing in stores, he said. Still, he continued, groceries and trending clothing have one thing in common: Short lifespans.

“The big risk for fashion is falling prices,” he said. “Fashion is perishable.”

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of Bravo and CNBC.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/22/walmart-debuts-fashion-designer-brandon-maxwells-first-spring-collection-.html Walmart launches fashion designer Brandon Maxwell’s first spring collection

Joshua Buckhalter

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