Walmart is buying Modcloth, an online retailer known for its vintage and geek-chic fashion designed to a range of female body types. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Walmart said it acquired Modcloth’s assets and operations and that the deal has already closed.
Modcloth was founded in 2002 in Pittsburgh by Susan Koger, then a student at Carnegie Mellon University. The brand eventually earned a cult following for its range of apparel and accessories. It expanded operations to include three offices across the country.
In a blog post, Koger cited recent layoffs within Modcloth and challenges in the industry as reasons behind the deal, saying it would give the company “the necessary resources and support that we need as a business to grow.”
“Growth allows us to reach more women, grow our community, and amplify our message,” Koger said. “Our mission to help our customers feel like the best version of themselves continues. And our commitment to inclusivity continues. Our amazing team continues. And we can open more stores — in your hometown! I hope you will continue to join us as well on this next phase of our journey together.”
Walmart said that ModCloth CEO Matthew Kaness, his executive team, and ModCloth’s 300-plus employees will continue to be based in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh, and they will join Walmart’s US ecommerce business.
ModCloth and its website will operate as a standalone yet “complementary” brand to Walmart’s other ecommerce sites. For designers that sell on Modcloth, Walmart is pitching the deal as a way to expand their consumer reach through Jet.com and its other ecommerce sites.
In the end, Walmart is hoping to capitalize on Modcloth’s strong social media presence and its ability to engage with its customer base.
What’s unclear is whether Modcloth’s legion of devoted shoppers will stick around with Walmart at the helm.
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