Wal-Mart conducted an 18-month survey to try and discover the reason women tended to avoid buying clothing when they stopped in for specific items, such as food and other household necessities. According to USA Today, Wal-Mart respondents said that the retailer didn't have the clothes that met its shoppers' needs.
I'd also argue that clothing is not something many women are willing to skimp on. If you think about it, folks of all demographics purchase lots of low-priced items at Wal-Mart that are the exact same products one can buy elsewhere. Not so with the threads. It stands to reason that women on tight budgets might often use the money they save on household goods, for example, to go and shop at more upscale locations for clothes.
Wal-Mart has made quite a name for itself with low prices, but when it comes to its clothing, "cheap" has been a stigma, not the draw it has been for so many other items. I would imagine it's similar to the way many shoppers felt over the years about the apparel over at Kmart, which, of course, is now owned by Sears Holdings
On the other hand, most of us know that Target
Given Wal-Mart's less-than-hip reputation when it comes to clothing, the Vogue advertising blitz seems rather outlandish too. One might wonder if the women who read Vogue are really the women who could be convinced to turn to Wal-Mart for apparel in the first place. I would guess not.
At any rate, Wal-Mart's Metro 7 line apparently consists of hip fashions that will be refreshed more frequently than its previous lines of clothing, to keep up with trends. It will include decorated denim jeans, velvet jackets and skirts, and silk camisoles, for example. Last week, it debuted in 500 stores, and it will be available in 1,000 stores this coming spring. It's being introduced primarily in Wal-Mart's urban-market stores for now.
If true, the rumor that Wal-Mart was recently eyeing struggling Tommy Hilfiger
Wal-Mart seems to be launching Metro 7 instead. It's understandable that Wal-Mart might want to bolster an area that has plenty of room for improvement. Whether it can pull it off is a different matter. In my opinion, there's a great deal of consumer psychology surrounding the Wal-Mart brand -- and its association with apparel -- that the company will have to carefully overcome.
For more recent Foolish content centered around Wal-Mart, please see the following articles:
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- One Fool recently asked if you should short Wal-Mart.
Or, if you'd prefer, talk to other Fools about Wal-Mart on our busy Wal-Mart discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.