Walmart wants to become a new “fashion destination” as Americans ease into the autumn season.
The big box store announced Monday that it’s launching Free Assembly, a clothing brand that is targeted toward people on the market for wardrobe staples at the affordable prices.
The clothes are designed by the company’s in-house design team, and the brand is launching online and in 250 stores.
“At its core, this new brand is born from thoughtful, simple design, quality fabrics, modern silhouettes and styles updated for today,” said Denise Incandela, Walmart’s senior vice president of women’s group, elevated and online brands, in a statement.
Starting September 21, the fall collection will kick off with more than 30 items for women, and 25 for men, all priced between $9 and $45.
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It’s an interesting time to launch a new wardrobe business. Data from the Commerce Department shows that sales at clothing stores rose 2.9% in August, but are still down 20.4% year-over-year amid the ongoing pandemic and sluggish economic recovery.
But Walmart, an essential retailer, could be well-positioned to capture an increasing share of clothing sales with retail bankruptcy cases and store closings piling up.
Walmart’s latest venture also represents yet another step in what’s been an extended effort to expand its fashion footprint.
In 2017, Walmart acquired the popular menswear brand Bonobos in a $310 million deal. And in 2019, it launched a denim line with actress Sofia Vergara. Walmart has also added roughly 1,000 brands to its e-commerce business and in May, it teamed up with the secondhand apparel seller ThredUp to enter the resale market.
“Through our ongoing strategy of expanding our assortment for our customers, we’ve shown that we’re serious about establishing Walmart as a fashion destination,” Incandela said.
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