ECOMMERCE

New company preps to relaunch the Bebe brand

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The Bebe brand is undergoing a transformation — thanks to a new parent company.

Global Brands Group Holding Limited, a leading branded apparel, footwear, and fashion accessories company — and a spin-off of global exporter Li & Fung Ltd., is partnering with the Bebe brand to relaunch a new e-commerce platform. In addition, the company will redesign the brand’s international brick-and-mortar stores to better meet the heightened shopping expectations of Bebe’s consumers.

This project marks the first initiative under Global Brands' direction. Overall, the company will relaunch Bebe's e-commerce platform, direct-to-consumer divisions and international operations.

"Bebe is an iconic fashion brand with a loyal, global following," said Sandra Campos, president of the Bebe division at Global Brands Group. "We see a tremendous opportunity to relaunch a new e-commerce platform that best reflects who our global customer is and how she shops.”

Global Brands Group’s initiatives will augment the work Blue Star Alliance Corp. is undertaking to build out the brand’s wholesale and department store distribution. Based on a relationship forged with Bebe in 2016, Blue Star Alliance will create new licensees and product extensions for the brand.

"As we continue to build out the wholesale and department store distribution for the Bebe brand, it was a natural transition for Global Brands Group to take over the Bebe e-commerce platform,” said Joseph Gabbay, CEO of Bluestar Alliance LLC.

“Global Brands Group has been a strategic licensee and can now seamlessly synergize the international distribution, e-commerce platform and wholesale business,” he said. “Our efforts will concentrate on an omnichannel distribution approach to service and expand the Bebe customer, both domestically and internationally."

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FINANCE

Walmart doubling down on fashion with Bonobos acquisition

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is buying men's clothing retailer Bonobos for $310 million in cash. And the discounter is giving Bonobos founder a key online role.

The deal is in keeping with Walmart's recent efforts to better compete with Amazon by beefing up its online fashion offerings and widen its appeal by buying digitally native, hip brands that target millennials and younger consumers.

Reports about Walmart's interest in Bonobos have been circulating for months.

Founded online in 2007, Bonobos started out by selling men's pants. It has expanded its assortment to include a wider variety of apparel and has opened 35 brick-and-mortar stores ("Guideshops"), with plans to have 100 locations by 2010. It also has a partnership with Nordstrom.

“Walmart has really stepped up to Amazon’s pace, both as a hyper retail innovator and in their growing ecommerce strength through acquisitions," said Charles Dimov, director of marketing, OrderDynamics."The Bonobos acquisition is another peg in the upward direction. Kudos to them for driving retail technology with a strong omnichannel play and presence, and in breaking out of the ‘low price only’ paradigm."

Once the deal is completed, Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos will report to Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce. Dunn will oversee Walmart's collection of digitally-native vertical brands, which, in addition to Bonobos, also include ShoeBuy and ModCloth. The brands will be offered on Jet.com and possibly other Walmart brands in a variety of countries over time, the company said.

"Adding innovators like Andy will continue to help us shape the future of Walmart, and the future of retail," stated Lore. "I’m thrilled to welcome Andy and the entire Bonobos team. They’ve created an amazing product and customer experience, and that will not change. In fact, Andy will be a great influence on the company, especially in leading our collection of exclusive brands offered online.”

The acquisition is expected to close toward the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter of this fiscal year.

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REAL ESTATE

Will a hole through a hill save a Mohave center?

BY CSA STAFF

In the Mohave Valley of Arizona, a town has punched a hole through a hill to unite a challenged shopping center with the local mall to improve traffic.

Kmart will close its store in the City Square shopping center in Bullhead City, across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada, leaving it without the anchor that was its prime draw. In fact, few locals even knew the name of the center, referring to it just as Kmart, according to the Mohave Valley Daily News.

The center has lined up an Ashley HomeStore to take up part of the space vacated by a Food City market, but the town itself is spearheading an effort to save the center, excavating the linkage to the nearby Riverview Mall. Owners of the center, meanwhile, have upgraded signage in the hopes of giving City Square a new identity.

“We’ve been working on reconditioning it, making it a more attractive center, in the best location in town, we feel,” said property manager Anne Alba.

Click here for more.

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