Lord & Taylor and WalMart partners?

One of the latest moves in retail is to partner up Lord and Taylor with WalMart. Hudson Bay Company is contemplating selling Lord & Taylor and a possible partnership with WalMart is being talked about. L & T is a bit upscale for WalMart and they do not have the same customers shopping at both places. This may not bode well for L & T as it is a scale above JC Penney and a rival to Macy’s.

Then the WalMart shoppers would be concerned about higher prices and vice versa, how does L & T maintain its higher prices. Either way, it does not sound like a winning arrangement for either store. Being associated with WalMart is a bit of a kiss of death in retail. Retail already has its problems with store closings and bankruptcies, so it hardly sounds like a sound move to put those two stores in a partnership.

Mark Cohen, professor, and director of Retail Studies at Columbia Business School agrees. “This is a strange development,” he told Retail Dive in an email. “Lord & Taylor is desperately looking for a reason to exist and Walmart is desperately looking for legitimacy in the age of Amazon.” But that still does not make sense to unite these two. Surely there are two candidates who are more suitable and compliment each other than these two.

Mr. Cohen stated, “Lord and Taylor is desperately looking for a reason to exist and WalMart is desperately looking for legitimacy in the age of Amazon.” Instead, this partnership, if the report is true, reflects a deeper problem for Walmart, Cohen said, calling it, “another mindless step by Walmart in stitching together a crazy quilt of disconnected businesses ala Jet.com, Bonobos, etc. in an attempt to arrive at a strategy which quite obviously does not exist.”

It appears that WalMart truly is desperate and I suppose is tired of being the butt of so many jokes. Especially the endless videos about the dress or lack of dress of WalMart shoppers. And it seems there is an endless supply of jokes about WalMart, the merchandise and the shoppers. They have made significant strides in doing quite a few upgrades in their grocery department, stocking higher end products and a much bigger variety of items. The cosmetic department now carries a few of the better brands, not of the caliber of Saks or L & T but better for WalMart.

I can understand WalMart wanting to associate with a really nicer store, but customers who frequent both are going to wonder what the price differences will be. Jet.com business is down as WalMart says it is concentrating on their website, and Bonobos is a men’s store, so now the remark about disconnected businesses makes perfect sense, and why buy a business is you are not going to market it.

Only WalMart knows for sure why they have made the decisions they did. I mean it is not like they are hurting for $$$, it’s how they arrive at the decisions they make