Walmart to launch new private label clothing brands

FILE PHOTO: The Wal-Mart company logo is seen outside a Wal-Mart Stores Inc company distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Walmart Inc WMT.N will launch four private label clothing brands as part of a push to make deeper inroads into the apparel space and compete against rival Inc AMZN.O, which is rapidly gaining market share in the category.

Walmart has been acquiring small online brands like Shoebuy, Modcloth and Bonobos over the past year to boost growth in the clothing and accessories business, where consumers are increasingly shopping online.

In November, the retailer tied up with department store operator Lord & Taylor by offering it dedicated space on Walmart’s website.

The new private brands, which are owned by the retailer, will be available in Walmart stores and online starting March 1, the company said on Tuesday.

The launch comes at a time when younger consumers are showing signs of being more receptive to Amazon’s apparel offerings than its rivals, according to analysts.

A new survey of 1,699 shoppers by Coresight Research showed Amazon’s apparel category has sharply gained in popularity, with footwear and casual clothing proving to be the online retailer’s most popular categories and ease of browsing its biggest draw.

Walmart, which is still the largest clothing retailer in the United States, is upgrading the apparel section in its stores with improved displays, open floor plans and better fitting rooms, it said.

Walmart’s brands, priced from less than $5 to $30, include women’s apparel brand Time and Tru, plus-sized women’s clothing line Terra & Sky, kids apparel under Wonder Nation and men’s clothing under the name George.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in New York; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier