There have been rumors for some time that Walmart had its eye on Bonobos, a menswear brand founded in 2007, built entirely on the internet. Today, the acquisition became official, transforming an innovative, vertically integrated menswear brand into just another cog in Walmart’s engine. Walmart acquired Bonobos for $310 million in cash. Andy Dunn, the founder and CEO of Bonobos, will take on a new role, overseeing Walmart’s digitally native vertical brands and will report to Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce.
For Walmart, this is part of a broader strategy to strengthen its digital presence and heightens its competition with Amazon. Over the last few months, Walmart bought the women’s online fashion brand ModCloth and discount retailer Jet.com. It has also been stepping up its e-commerce game to better compete with Amazon Prime by offering two-day free shipping without a membership fee. Amazon, for its part, has been working to improve its fashion offerings by launching new private label brands and sponsoring high-profile events like the Costume Institute Exhibition. Today, Amazon announced that it is acquiring Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, allowing it to compete better with Walmart’s grocery business.