Walmart is acquiring a plus-size store with a cult following - and some customers are furious
- Walmart announced it is acquiring women's plus-size retailer Eloquii on Tuesday.
- Eloquii fans have taken to social media to show their disdain and said that they will no longer shop the brand.
- Walmart experienced a similar backlash after it acquired trendy startups Bonobos and ModCloth last year.
Walmart did not disclose how much it will pay for Eloquii, but sources familiar with the matter told Recode that the purchase price was $100 million.Eloquii was founded in 2011 as part of The Limited but relaunched online as an independent brand in 2014. Since then, it has opened five stores across the United States and has doubled sales every year, reaching around $80 million for fiscal 2017, according to MarketWatch.
Eloquii has become one of the leading players in a market that is known for being underserved. Women's plus-size apparel generates $21.4 billion in annual sales in the US and is growing faster than the country's overall apparel market, according to the NPD Group. However, plus-size shoppers frequently criticize many of the US' national retailers for not offering a wider range of sizes.Eloquii has gained a cult following by offering on-trend, fast-fashion clothing. On Tuesday, some fans took to social media to show their disdain for the new deal, arguing that Eloquii's values are at odds with Walmart's. Some specifically criticized Walmart's history of paying workers low wages. In January, Walmart made headlines when it raised its minimum wage to $11 per hour.
Walmart experienced a similar backlash after it announced it would be acquiring ModCloth in 2017."I will not support [Walmart] as they are a horrible company that I have not shopped at because of their practices," another customer wrote on ModCloth's Facebook page in May 2017. "You were inclusive, unique and independent. You are selling out to a company that has policies to keep their employees on government assistance. I will not support them."
While ModCloth and Bonobos have not revealed sales numbers, management told Quartz that sales and traffic to their sites have increased since they were acquired by Walmart.
And not everyone was outraged by the Eloquii deal.
how disappointing. i have dresses from when you were with the limited and was so proud of how you grew into your own independent, cool company. choosing to align yourself with walmart makes you feel trashy, lacking in values and $ grubbing. i'm genuinely saddened at this.- Doowutchyalike (@panachedenver) October 2, 2018
.@ELOQUII I just read that you joined Walmart and I'm disappointed. They pay their employees unfair wages and force them onto government assistance to make up for the difference. Do you have any thoughts on this? #BoycottWalmart- Adrianne (@AAMcLane) October 2, 2018
Walmart is acquiring @ELOQUII and I'm devastated. No more shopping there for me. ♀️- Dionna Humphrey (@MadeMePretty) October 2, 2018
Noooooooooo!!!! This is the saddest day this week.- Sheri (@ChicSheri) October 2, 2018
ugh Walmart is acquiring Eloquii, y'all.- loryn wilson carter (@ElleWCarter) October 2, 2018
I remember feeling devastated when walmart acquired ModCloth, but you know what, I've come around.- Miss Meanie, if you're nasty (@MargotMeanie) October 2, 2018
I think the important thing to remember is, @ELOQUII is NOT Walmart, but they're taking Walmart money to continue to make good stuff for the plus market. https://t.co/jYohmjCym5
This is the most measured approach to this. I'm not crazy about @Eloquii getting bought out by Walmart because I don't love my money going there, but it hasn't effected Modcloth, so I'm hopeful. https://t.co/z8Y4GfAEcj- Nicole Marie Edine (@nme421) October 2, 2018
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