Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is launching its own brand of trendy clothing for women as part of an overall strategy to increase U.S. sales by getting more shopping dollars out of the millions of customers already in its stores.
The urban-style line dubbed Metro 7, designed with the help of Wal-Mart’s trend-spotting office in New York City, will be rolled out this week in 500 of the more than 3,000 Wal-Mart stores in the United States, mainly in urban areas, the company announced Thursday. The clothes should be in about 1,000 stores by spring and is being sold online at Walmart.com.
The world’s largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., is not so much trying to win new customers as trying to persuade its huge existing customer base who come for staples to also buy clothes. It is part of a broader effort to revive sales and catch up with faster growing rivals like Target Corp.
“We can grow our business by getting the customer who is already in our store to buy more apparel,” John Fleming, Wal-Mart’s chief marketing officer, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
“The thing that keeps coming up is, ’Wal-Mart is going upscale.’ We’re not going upscale. We are becoming more relevant to existing customers in more categories,” he said.
Karen Stuckey, senior vice president for product development, described the new line’s looks as “style-conscious, fashion-forward, modern fit, body-hugging fit.”
“(It has) premium fabrication. For instance, a camisole would be all silk, the jacket will be velveteen, the denim will be premium and embellished,” Stuckey said.
Wal-Mart will advertise the new line in fashion bible Vogue magazine as well as other outlets.
The company said it already has a huge customer base that it wants to tap into with new products based on more targeted marketing. Eighty-seven percent of all U.S. households go to a Wal-Mart store at least once a year, the company said.
“We have a big segment of customers who shop frequently but they don’t choose to shop apparel. We think this approach to internal brand development is the best way to meet this customer need,” Fleming said.