As a longtime Walmart shopper, you may have noticed White Stag clothing disappearing from store shelves recently. This nostalgic brand was once a staple of Walmart‘s apparel offering, but no longer.
In this blog, we’ll explore the rise and fall of White Stag at Walmart. As an ecommerce expert, I’ll provide unique insights into this brand phase-out and what it means for the future of Walmart fashion. Let’s dive in!
The Story of White Stag: A Walmart Brand Staple for Decades
White Stag has a long history that pre-dates its Walmart days. This beloved brand was founded way back in 1929 as a skiwear company in Portland, Oregon. It gradually expanded into casual clothing for men and women.
Walmart acquired the White Stag brand in the early 2000s and transformed it into an exclusive in-house women’s line for their stores. At its peak, you could find a diverse range of White Stag clothing, shoes and accessories at affordable prices.
For years, White Stag was a staple brand that drew shoppers into Walmart stores. However, recent industry shifts have hit this brand hard:
Sales Declines: From 2013-2018, White Stag’s sales declined over 30% as fast fashion brands ate into their market share. They lost relevance.
Consumer Shifts: Today’s shoppers, especially younger demographics, demand fast fashion at bargain prices. White Stag’s catalog was stagnant and outdated.
Online Competition: Ecommerce pure-plays like Boohoo and Shein offered trendy clothing with convenience White Stag couldn’t match.
Now, let’s explore why Walmart made the call to axe this once-popular brand from its stores.
Why Walmart Discontinued the White Stag Brand
After years of declining performance, Walmart pulled White Stag from its brick-and-mortar stores in 2022-2023. This decision aligned with Walmart’s larger strategy to refresh its brand and fashion offerings.
Here are the key strategic reasons why White Stag got the ax:
1. Part of Major Rebranding Initiative
Walmart is overhauling its brand image to attract younger, more style-focused shoppers. Outdated in-house brands like White Stag don’t fit this new identity. Clean breaks from the past are needed.
2. Shift to Higher Margin Exclusive Brands
Proprietary brands enable stronger margins. By phasing out White Stag in favor of new exclusive lines, Walmart improves profitability.
3. Increased Investment in Ecommerce
Walmart is chasing omnichannel growth with ecommerce investments. White Stag was designed for in-store only, so didn’t align with Walmart’s digital-first vision.
4. Data-Driven, Localized Assortments
Retail analytics allow Walmart to customize its brand assortments regionally based on local customer data. White Stag’s national approach didn’t enable this.
In summary, White Stag’s outdated business model led Walmart to cut it loose. Next, let’s explore the new fashion brands stepping in to replace White Stag.
The New Walmart Brands Taking Over From White Stag
As White Stag fades away, Walmart is introducing several new exclusive apparel brands to win over customers:
|Brand||Target Customer||Pricing||Style||Marketing Strategy|
|Time and Tru||Women 25-40||Low||Modern essentials||Social media influencers|
|Terra & Sky||Plus-size women||Very low||Fashionable||Body positivity|
|Wonder Nation||Parents of young children||Low||Playful, trendy||Mom bloggers|
|George||Men 18-40||Medium||Basics with flair||Instagram hypebeasts|
This table summarizes the key contrasts between the outgoing White Stag brand and Walmart’s new fashion offerings catered to today’s shoppers. It’s a dramatic overhaul.
By partnering with vendors like Lord & Taylor and Calvin Klein, Walmart is also improving its brand credibility in apparel. The goal is an elevated yet affordable mix of owned brands and national labels.
Early data suggests this strategy is working. For example, in their first year, Walmart’s new women’s brands Time and Tru and Terra & Sky achieved over $1 billion in combined sales. As these new brands scale, they are forecasted to drive significant growth for Walmart fashion.
The Demise of White Stag Highlights Larger Retail Shifts
The discontinuation of White Stag at Walmart has larger implications about ongoing disruptions in the retail industry:
1. Brand Resets Are Risky But Required
Retailers face intense pressure to regularly reinvent their brands. However, overhauls like Walmart’s phase-out of legacy brands can alienate existing customers. It’s a delicate balancing act. Macy’s and JCPenney have also taken their lumps from brand resets.
2. Data Now Rules Assortments
Retail analytics allow merchandising tailored to local demand signals. Brands that enable this data-driven approach will win. Unfortunately, White Stag’s national approach couldn’t adapt.
3. Ecommerce Is The Future
Walmart’s online sales growth led the cut on White Stag, which lacked any ecommerce presence. The retail winners in apparel will master digital channels while still leveraging physical stores.
4. Speed Is Vital
Fast fashion brands continue to disrupt the industry. Legacy players need supply chain speed and agility to compete. White Stag’s long production timelines were outdated in today’s speed wars.
The failure of White Stag at Walmart demonstrates the immense challenges traditional apparel retailers face today. Companies must reimagine everything from brand identity to supply chain to data strategy in order to thrive. Walmart is banking on its sweeping changes to help it stay on top.
Can You Still Purchase White Stag Products?
As White Stag exits Walmart’s brick-and-mortar locations, leftover inventory can occasionally be found on Walmart’s website marketplace. However, the brand’s presence is disappearing fast.
White Stag still produces some apparel under its brand name that is available via specialty online retailers. But mass availability at national chains like Walmart appears to be over.
For Walmart shoppers, the familiar White Stag lineup will soon be relegated to nostalgic memories of deals gone by. It’s the end of an era.
The Bottom Line
Retail is ruthlessly competitive. Brands that fall behind the pace of change get left behind. White Stag’s decline from a staple Walmart brand to eventual discontinuation exemplifies this reality.
By replacing White Stag with digitally-savvy exclusive brands attuned to younger fashion tastes, Walmart aims to revive its apparel business. It’s a bold strategy that illustrates the hard truths of retail survival today. Adapt or die.