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Walmart confirmed plans Tuesday to roll out new apparel and home brands this year in a bid to make a bigger splash online and woo shoppers with its exclusive merchandise.
Recent reports said the retailing giant would develop four new apparel lines and one new line of mattresses and bedding, known as Allswell. Allswell will mark the company's first digital brand, sold exclusively via AllswellHome.com rather than in stores, Walmart said Tuesday.
The company said its apparel lines will be available nationwide, in stores and online by Thursday. The revamped clothing brands include Time and Tru for women, Terra & Sky for plus sizes and Wonder Nation for kids. An existing Walmart label known as George, which the company incorporated from its British unit Asda, is being reconfigured to sell only items for men.
Items from Time and Tru, Terra & Sky and Wonder Nation are already starting to appear across Walmart.com. The clothing is marketed as being affordable. For example, a men's poplin shirt from George retails for $14.92, and a wedge sandal from Time and Tru for $19.88.
In its stores, Walmart said it's "making improvements to its apparel departments to help customers find style inspiration and shop new looks."
Starting next month, shoppers will notice new signage for the apparel brands, the company said. By this fall, it said, apparel displays will be upgraded, and some stores will undergo a more labor-intensive remodeling to make an open floor plan "for visibility and shopping ease." Fitting rooms will also be refurbished.
Rival Target also has been investing heavily in its private-label brands, launching within the past year A New Day for women, JoyLab for athletic apparel, Goodfellow & Co. for men and Universal Thread for denim. It's also been remodeling stores to make the apparel section feel more like a boutique.
At Walmart, some of its apparel banners such as Faded Glory, White Stag and Just My Size will be pulled from stores but will still be offered online in some instances. In acquiring Bonobos, Modcloth and Moosejaw, the company is building a bigger suite of clothing lines — with a fresher look — under its name.
As it announced late last year, Walmart is also in the midst of redesigning its website with a focus on home goods and fashion, which will include merchandise from Hudson's Bay-owned Lord & Taylor. The company has hinted at other similar brand partnerships. The department store chain's flagship shop on Walmart.com is set to be unveiled this spring.
Uniquely with Allswell, though, the home brand is meant to be shopped through a separate website. In selling luxe mattresses and limited-edition bedding sets curated by design influencers, Walmart aims to build brand recognition around a business that won't tie directly back to its name.
The stand-alone, e-commerce model is seen as a way for Walmart to attract the high-end shoppers who have skirted away from the low-price retailer in the past. According to The Washington Post, Walmart is also preparing to unveil a digital beauty brand, known as Co Squared, that would operate via its own website.