Executive Briefings

Wal-Mart Is Buying Trendy E-Commerce Sites. The Cool Kids Are Not Having It.

At the height of their love affair, Bridget Henry visited online clothing store ModCloth's app every day. It wasn't just the clothes with a vintage and quirky vibe that the 26-year-old liked, it was the story.

Founded by high school sweethearts in a college dorm room, the San Francisco company had grown on the backs of its loyal customers to $150m in revenue in 2015. Henry liked how genuine the brand seemed. That is, until it was purchased by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in March.

“I shed a little tear when I deleted the app. I felt like I was breaking up with someone,” the supply chain analyst said.

Wal-Mart is aggressively expanding its e-commerce clout. The retailer purchased e-commerce site Jet.com last year and is offering free shipping and discounts on Walmart.com as it bulks up to better battle with online shopping giant Amazon.com.

But even Wal-Mart e-commerce communications Vice President Dan Toporek acknowledges that Walmart.com and its massive inventory of 50 million distinct products will not attract the cool kids who are — or were — shopping at places such as ModCloth.

Analysts see a trend with Wal-Mart’s recent buys.

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Founded by high school sweethearts in a college dorm room, the San Francisco company had grown on the backs of its loyal customers to $150m in revenue in 2015. Henry liked how genuine the brand seemed. That is, until it was purchased by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in March.

“I shed a little tear when I deleted the app. I felt like I was breaking up with someone,” the supply chain analyst said.

Wal-Mart is aggressively expanding its e-commerce clout. The retailer purchased e-commerce site Jet.com last year and is offering free shipping and discounts on Walmart.com as it bulks up to better battle with online shopping giant Amazon.com.

But even Wal-Mart e-commerce communications Vice President Dan Toporek acknowledges that Walmart.com and its massive inventory of 50 million distinct products will not attract the cool kids who are — or were — shopping at places such as ModCloth.

Analysts see a trend with Wal-Mart’s recent buys.

Read Full Article