Walmart Inc. (WMT) is expanding its footprint in the fashion world with the acquisition of Eloquii, a 4-year-old e-commerce company that makes and sells its own line of women’s apparel size 14 and up, mostly online.
The acquisition follows that of Bonobos for $310 million last year, as well as those of Moosejaw and Modcloth among others in the past year and a half as Walmart looks to distinguish its e-commerce from Amazon.com’s (AMZN). Walmart declined to disclose the size of the Eloquii acquisition, but Recode reported the figure as $100 million, or two and half times annual revenue.
The idea is to have a roster of hip digital native brands, or brands that started as online players only, that offer items customers can’t find on Amazon, which itself its ramping up its fashion offering and private clothing brands.
“We are laser focused on developing a portfolio of direct to consumer brands with a unique assortment you can’t find anywhere else,” said Andy Dunn, SVP of digital consumer brands for Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce division, in a blog post.
Walmart pegs the market for plus-sized clothes at $21 billion and will compete more directly with traditional rivals like Target (TGT) and J.C. Penney (JCP), which have increased their assortment in this area of retail. High end department store Nordstrom (JWN) has also expanded its assortment in bigger sizes.
Eloquii brand was initially the creation in 2011 of retailer The Limited (which last year filed for bankruptcy and closed all its stores) but was discontinued a year and a half later. But a team of employees and an outside investor bought the brand and relaunched it three years later.