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Walmart Takes On Premium Fashion and Can Beauty Save Department Stores?

Walmart Takes On Premium Fashion and Can Beauty Save Department Stores?
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Walmart recently revealed a more sleek and modern website design to accommodate high-low shoppers. The company launched Lord & Taylor on the site in attempts to position itself as a digital destination for fashion.

To fuel its rebranding efforts and e-commerce business, Walmart has acquired several upscale online clothing brands including Bonobos and ModCloth. The company is attracting higher-income shoppers through its personal shopping offering that lets shoppers pick up online orders via curbside service at about 1,200 locations.

The introduction of Lord & Taylor may have given customers access to more premium products. But make no mistake: Walmart has a long way to go. With over 70 private labels, Amazon's fashion presence is still growing. Can Walmart keep up?


Since Nordstrom's 2016 launch of Good America, a size inclusive denim brand, the department store has increased the pressure for its brands to expand sizing. Despite challenges, the company is committed to its size extension initiative and is raising the stakes.

If a brand carries a limited sizing range, they’ll be excluded from store design and online updates - which means missing out on valuable exposure. In 30 stores, Nordstrom is switching out mannequins to include versions in size 2 and 12, while adding a size search tool on its site to eliminate "vanity sizing."

The goal is that, two years from now, all women’s apparel brands carried by Nordstrom will offer sizes 00 to 24. “For our brand to be truly relevant to our customer, we really want all of the brands we carry to be more size-inclusive." says Tricia Smith, EVP of women’s apparel at Nordstrom.


Fashion has a new face of royalty—and it isn't Meghan Markle.

Over the past two years, more than a dozen luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, and Marc Jacobs have featured hip-hop artists in their advertising campaigns, while brands like Versace and JW Anderson have taken things a step further by collaborating with artists like 2 Chainz and A$AP Rocky on products. Hip-hop fledgling Cardi B could be seen in the front row of Alexander Wang's Autumn/Winter 2018 presentation, a seat usually reserved for people of inviolable status.

To reach Generations Y and Z, who are expected to account for 45 percent of the global luxury spend by 2025, according to Bain & Company, hip-hop has been powerful tool for delivering brand messages that resonate. "Hip-hop artists are storytellers and news reporters of the times, [and] with hip-hop being the number one music genre, it proves that hip-hop artists drive culture,” says stylist and fashion consultant Aleali May.


Shopping by department is a norm of the past. New department store templates entice consumers with exclusive services, products, and events. Stores are becoming open to experiential shopping, creating new attractions beyond the usual samples and makeovers.

It could take more than sprucing up the shopping environment to ward off competition, especially as online juggernauts like Amazon invest in beauty. What's worse, the department store concept as a whole falls flat with some consumers. Nevertheless, retailers are revamping their approach in attracting and retaining customer loyalty by focusing on beauty experiences. Nordstrom collaborated with the beauty website Byrdie on a standalone pop-up shop, Bloomingdale’s targets more niche and independent brands in its millennial-focused Glowhaus section, as does Neiman Marcus with its Trending Beauty Shop.

To give customers a “sense of discovery” and a reason to repeatedly return to the store, department stores will need to ensure both their online and in-store beauty counters keep pace with changing shopping patterns.


In today's shaky corporate climate, gender diversity in the workplace is gaining traction and awareness. Revlon has named Debra Perelman, President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. She is the first woman CEO in its 86-year history.

Perelman has had an extensive career with Revlon, serving in operational and leadership roles across all facets of the business, including finance, distribution and sales operations, international and marketing. She also has a track record for innovation and has launched a new partnership with the MIT Media Lab to explore new ways to disrupt the industry.

“Revlon has been a central part of my personal and professional life for more than 20 years. I love Revlon not only as a company but as a culture of employees and executives who are committed to delivering women and men the best products in our industry, " says Perelman.

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