Walmart Purchases Online Outdoor Retailer

Also streamlines process for store items to appear on Walmart.com
February 16, 2017David Gill

WalmarthqFULLBENTONVILLE, Ark.-Walmart has swung a deal to acquire Moosejaw, an online retailer of outdoor apparel and gear, in another move to bolster its e-commerce offerings.

The acquisition, which cost Walmart $51 million and which closed on Feb. 13, moves the retailer into a product segment that retail research firm comScore recently described as the number one category for digital commerce, according to a company statement. Moosejaw’s large assortment, strong industry relationships, rich product content and expertise “will help us further enhance our customer experience,” Walmart said.

Moosejaw will continue to be run as a stand-alone and complementary brand to Walmart’s other e-commerce sites. Company CEO Eoin Comerford, his executive team and Moosejaw’s 350-plus employees will continue to be based in its headquarters in Madison Heights, Mich., and will join Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce retail organization.

{subhead} Merging Physical and Digital Buying

In another e-commerce development, Walmart is empowering its buyers for store merchandise to buy for Walmart.com as well. Previously, suppliers would have to deal with two separate buyers to make the item available for sale in stores and online. Under this new arrangement, suppliers of online-only products will still need to work with the Walmart.com buyer.

This doesn’t mean that Walmart is merging its in-store and online buying teams, as reported by Reuters that also appeared in other news outlets. Quoting sources among Walmart vendors who had supposedly been contacted by the retailer, the Reuters story said Walmart was combining and consolidating the buying operations for the in-store and online channels.

“This is part of a continued effort to better serve customers by creating a more efficient process that accelerates how we bring the full assortment of products in stores to Walmart.com,” according to a Walmart statement emailed to HFN. “It also allows for Walmart.com buyers to focus on expanding the online assortment.”

The move is the most recent in a series of shakeups in Walmart’s online operation since Marc Lore took over as CEO of its e-commerce sector in September, after Walmart purchased Jet.com, the web retailer founded by Lore. Since taking charge, Lore has revamped the sector’s leadership structure, including the combining of the marketing operations for the stores, Walmart.com and Jet.com; eliminated 200 jobs in its e-commerce headquarters in San Bruno, Calif.; and introduced free two-day shipping for purchases on Walmart.com.

Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon has vowed on several occasions beginning early last year that e-commerce would be a major piece of his overall effort to transform the retailer.

David GillDavid Gill | Senior Editor
dgill@hfnmag.com

David Gill covers home textiles, small electrics housewares, personal-care products, cleaning products, mattresses, consumer electronics and major appliances. He also reports on retailers and writes about the business and financial side of both vendors and retailers. He has more than 30 years of experience in business journalism, and has worked for other publications and websites that cover consumer products from both the manufacturer and retailer sides. His outside interests include sports (he is a big fan of the New York teams and of British soccer), cooking, movies and theater. He occasionally enjoys a good cigar as well.

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