When you think of major companies, Walmart likely comes to mind. But you may be shocked at just how many large and popular brands are actually under the Walmart umbrella.
From huge household names like Sam’s Club to trendy online retailers like Bonobos, Walmart owns a diverse array of major subsidiaries and acquisitions. Over the past decade, they’ve strategically acquired companies to expand their ecommerce capabilities, compete directly with Amazon, and extend their global footprint.
Let’s explore some of Walmart’s biggest subsidiary companies and acquisitions that you may not have realized they own.
10 Major Brands Owned by Walmart
Walmart has spent billions acquiring major established brands across industries from fashion to furniture. Here are some of their most surprising and notable purchases:
1. Sam’s Club
This popular membership warehouse chain was actually started by Walmart itself back in 1983. Walmart launched Sam’s Club to compete directly against rival bulk shopping clubs like Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club.
Since its founding, Sam’s Club has grown steadily along with its parent company. Today, it has nearly 600 warehouse location and over $57 billion in annual revenue.
One of Walmart’s largest acquisitions was online retailer Jet.com, which it purchased in 2016 for a staggering $3.3 billion in cash and stock.
Walmart made this blockbuster acquisition specifically to propel its ecommerce capabilities and take on Amazon directly. Jet’s talented tech team also gave Walmart needed talent and systems to grow its digital operations.
While Jet started out as a competitor to Walmart, its site now simply redirects to Walmart.com. But the acquisition succeeded in its goal of accelerating Walmart’s ecommerce strategy. Walmart’s online sales grew a massive 43% the year after acquiring Jet.
Hayneedle is a popular online furniture and home goods retailer known for its affordable, stylish selection. Walmart acquired Hayneedle in 2016 for an estimated $50-100 million.
The purchase helped Walmart expand into online furniture sales to compete with the likes of Wayfair and Amazon. It also gave Walmart access to Hayneedle’s specialized drop-shipping logistics model.
Hayneedle remains an independently run brand, but the resources and scale of Walmart have helped grow its market share. Hayneedle’s revenue now exceeds $400 million annually.
In 2017, Walmart made the unexpected purchase of trendy online menswear retailer Bonobos for $310 million. It was a strategic move to access Bonobos’ millennial male customer base and modern fashion aesthetic.
Buying Bonobos has allowed Walmart to gain market share in higher-end online fashion against rivals like Amazon. Bonobos has retained its independent brand identity under Walmart’s ownership.
Known for its outdoor apparel and gear, Moosejaw was acquired by Walmart in 2017 for approximately $51 million. It was another play for millennial shoppers, while also expanding Walmart’s assortment of specialty outdoor merchandise.
Interestingly, Moosejaw partners extensively with Amazon, selling its products wholesale to Amazon to widen distribution. So the acquisition hasn’t stopped Moosejaw from working with Walmart’s main competitor.
6. Bare Necessities
Walmart purchased online intimate apparel retailer Bare Necessities in 2018 for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was part of Walmart’s strategy to expand its online fashion and beauty offerings.
Bare Necessities is one of the largest online intimates brands. Walmart likely saw it as an opportunity to chip away at Amazon’s market share in this category. The purchase has helped Walmart expand its ecommerce presence among female consumers.
In 2018, Walmart acquired Art.com, one of the world’s largest sellers of online wall art and home decor. While the terms weren’t disclosed, estimates value the deal between $200-300 million.
Buying Art.com expanded Walmart’s assortment into wall art and home decor products. And it gave Walmart access to Art.com’s supplier relationships and fulfillment network.
Under Walmart, Art.com has grown into a ~$400 million annual business supplying home decor to Walmart and other major retailers.
Eloquii is a fast-growing plus-size women’s fashion brand that Walmart acquired in 2018 for $100 million. It was a strategic purchase to help Walmart expand further into online fashion and improve its fit among plus-size female shoppers.
Unlike other acquisitions, Eloquii has remained an independently positioned brand since the acquisition. But the investment from Walmart has helped Eloquii improve its supply chain and expand internationally into Canada.
In one of its largest international acquisitions to date, Walmart purchased a 77% stake in Flipkart, India’s massive online retailer, for a staggering $16 billion in 2018.
The blockbuster deal gives Walmart a huge presence in the fast-growing Indian ecommerce market. And Flipkart benefits from Walmart’s retail expertise and resources to battle local rival Amazon.
Flipkart acquisition positions Walmart as a major global ecommerce player that can compete head-to-head with Amazon for international market share.
Walmart acquired online shoe retailer Shoes.com in 2017 for around $9 million. Shoes.com offered a wider range of footwear than Walmart carried at the time.
The purchase helped Walmart quickly expand its online selection of shoes to compete with Zappos and Amazon. Given Walmart’s scale, Shoes.com could also negotiate better wholesale pricing from major shoe brands.
While small in scale, the Shoes.com deal gave Walmart a dedicated footwear site with expertise in online shoe retail.
5 Lesser Known Subsidiaries
Alongside its major brand acquisitions above, Walmart has also acquired some lesser known companies:
Aspectiva – This Israeli AI startup was purchased in 2019 to enhance Walmart’s internal artificial intelligence capabilities, especially around natural language processing.
Amigo – Walmart purchased this supermarket chain in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in 2002 to expand its grocery footprint into these territories.
Seiyu – Japan‘s largest supermarket chain was acquired by Walmart in stages in the early 2000s. Walmart now owns 100% of Seiyu which has over 300 supermarket locations across Japan.
Massmart – South Africa’s second largest consumer goods wholesaler and retailer was bought by Walmart in 2011 for $2.5 billion. This gave Walmart access to the fast-growing African retail market.
Carcho – In 2004, Walmart acquired Central American grocery chain Carcho for about $2 billion. The deal added over 150 supermarkets, primarily in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Why Does Walmart Keep Acquiring Companies?
It’s clear Walmart is on a mission to expand its retail empire globally and dominate ecommerce. But why exactly does it keep acquiring companies across so many industries? There are a few key strategic motivations driving Walmart’s acquisition strategy:
Compete with Amazon – Walmart has bought numerous digital brands like Jet, Hayneedle, and Bonobos with the specific goal of taking on Amazon directly in online retail.
Expanding globally – Acquiring international companies like Flipkart, Massmart, and Seiyu allows Walmart to extend its global retail footprint, especially in high-growth emerging markets.
Grow online assortment – Buying sites like Shoes.com, Moosejaw and Art.com enables Walmart to rapidly expand its ecommerce product selection and capabilities.
Leverage supply chains – Some deals like Hayneedle and Art.com give Walmart access to established supplier networks and distribution systems.
Access young shoppers – Trendy, millennial-focused brands like Bonobos and Moosejaw helps Walmart make inroads with younger demographics.
Given its track record, we can expect Walmart to continue acquiring companies to achieve scale, stave off Amazon, and expand globally. The retail giant seems intent on owning brands across tech, online retail, brick-and-mortar, grocery, fashion, and worldwide markets. Look for the Walmart empire to keep growing for years to come.