The world’s largest retailer has not historically been known for its high-quality clothing items. More of a place you shop because you have to, knowing the garments won’t last and won’t necessarily be the trendiest in your closet. But that’s all changing as Walmart makes a big push to refresh its fashion offerings, even retiring old stalwart store clothing brands.

A Retail Giant’s Fashion Makeover

The revamp of Walmart’s clothing offerings will extend to online and in-store. Retail Dive reports Walmart is partnering with Lord & Taylor to include higher-end brands to its online clothing selection, an attempt to draw in shoppers who would typically turn up their noses at shopping for clothing at Walmart.
Walmart is rolling out four new store brands, according to Retail Dive: Time and True, and Terra & Sky (for women); Wonder Nation (kids); and George (men). Walmart will also be giving their clothing sections a big makeover. By this fall, most Walmart stores will upgrade their displays, and add more signage throughout the clothing department. Some stores will undergo remodeling with open floor plans and fitting rooms with upgraded fixtures and features, according to Retail Dive.

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Walmart is Facing the Amazon Effect, too

According to Forbes, the push for more and better clothing options is a result of pressure faced by the retail giant from another retail giant, Amazon, who has been making its own moves into clothing and creating its own low-cost private label brands. It’s also a move for Walmart to improve its profit margins by incorporating higher-end clothing items, as opposed to a race to the bottom on price. Forbes says it’s looking to attract more affluent shoppers who may use the chain for groceries or technology purchases, but wouldn’t think to shop for clothing there.
Walmart in the past has attempted to move beyond basic clothing commodities like teeshirts, jeans, socks and athletic wear, with limited success. Back in 2006, according to Forbes, Walmart attempted an upscale product line including the organic baby clothing line from the British brand George, as well as the higher quality Metro 7 clothing line. Neither were a successful for the retailer.
Walmart executive Preston Bottomy told Forbes that these days more of its customers are searching on Walmart.com for more premium brands, showing there’s an interest among their customer base for more upmarket items in the clothing and beauty space.
It will be interesting to see if Walmart’s latest foray into breaking out of its image as a purveyor of inexpensive commodity clothing and court the kind of customers that Amazon has had some success in attracting. But with the reach and deep pockets of the retail giant, it has the ability to throw big resources behind their clothing makeover.

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