SHOPPING SPREE

Walmart buys Eloquii to dive deeper into the lucrative plus-size fashion market

Walmart wants her business.
Walmart wants her business.
Image: Walmart
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Walmart has just announced its latest acquisition.

In a bid to expand its fast-growing fashion portfolio, the giant retailer is buying Eloquii, a brand focused on stylish and polished plus-size clothing for women, as opposed to the basics that often make up brands’ extended sizes. Eloquii will fit right in alongside one of Walmart’s other recent fashion buys. Last year, Walmart scooped up ModCloth, another label with style, personality, and a strong following among women size 14 and up.

Those women represent major untapped opportunities in fashion. Despite the fact that the average woman in the US is more likely to be a size 16 than a size 2, many brands consider 14 or 16 the beginning of “plus” sizes. (These numerical sizes, it’s worth noting, are basically meaningless.) The styles available in those sizes tend to be limited, if they’re offered at all, which means brands are leaving money on the table. Marshal Cohen, the retail industry analyst for research firm NPD Group, has estimated that sales of plus-size clothing in the US are about half of what they could be if brands offered more options.

“Today, more than half of women age 18-65 in the US wear size 14+,” Andy Dunn, Walmart’s SVP of digital consumer brands, wrote in a blog post about the deal. “We know they’re looking not just for basics, but also for on-trend pieces that allow them to express their individuality. This is a segment of the market that has been historically underserved and neglected.”

In addition to being a leader in plus-size apparel—a market Walmart says is worth $21 billion—Eloquii is a digitally focused brand, aligning it with other Walmart acquisitions of the past few years, including Jet.com, Bonobos, and Moosejaw. In its announcement of the deal, Walmart said its aim is to acquire companies that strengthen the assortment and category expertise on Walmart.com and Jet.com, and that offer unique, differentiated products not available elsewhere. Eloquii is a match on both counts.

Walmart didn’t disclose the amount it paid for Eloquii, but Recode reported the amount as $100 million, according to a source familiar with the terms. Walmart expects the deal to close later this quarter.