Walmart sells another DTC brand, Vince signs with Authentic Brands
Dealboard has the latest from Hershey, Rally and an American super app.
Dealboard has the latest from Hershey, Rally and an American super app.
This week, Walmart offloads another digitally native brand, ABG is adding a new retailer and Hershey is bringing on a pair of popcorn manufacturing facilities. Plus, there’s new funding for composable checkout and an American super app.
Check out the latest deals:
For the second time in as many weeks, Walmart is selling a digitally native brand it acquired in the last decade to boost ecommerce.
On Friday, the retailer announced that FullBeauty Brands will acquire the plus-size brand Eloquii.
With the deal, Eloquii will become an anchor tenant in a new digital mall from FullBeauty Brands, which has a universal cart that allows shoppers to check out from any of the retailers in the mall. The brand will help FullBeauty expand its presence in the $81 billion U.S. women's plus-sized sector.
Walmart acquired Eloquii for $100 million in 2018, as it sought to grow a stable of digital brands under then-ecommerce chief Marc Lore. The sale of Bonobos, Moosejaw and now Eloquii this year underscores that Walmart is now pursuing a different ecommerce strategy centered on a marketplace, as opposed to owning a series of retailers. As we wrote after a similar deal to sell Bonobos was announced last week:
Like Amazon before it, Walmart found that the key to ecommerce growth was not owning a portfolio of omnichannel labels like Bonobos, but building out services that could power new and high-growth digital businesses.
The brands, each with their own sites and stores, were not the engine of growth; rather, it was the infrastructure that merchandised and delivered items from Walmart's digital shelf.
While terms of the deal that would indicate whether Walmart sold off the retailer at a price below acquisition, the world’s largest retailer seems to clearly be in sale mode. The Eloquii deal is one more piece of evidence indicating that Walmart doesn’t want to be a house of brands. Don’t expect it to be the last.
Authentic Brands Group is adding a new name to its portfolio.
The parent of Aéropostale and Nautica, entered into a deal that will see it acquire 75% of a holding company that oversees the retailer Vince. Under the deal, Vince will contribute intellectual property to a new holding company called ABG Vince for $76.5 million in cash and a 25% membership interest in the new company. Vince will also enter into a long-term licensing agreement with Vince.
“We are pleased to enter into this transformative partnership with Authentic which will provide us the necessary capital to strengthen our balance sheet allowing for opportunities to enhance our focus on driving margin expansion, and focusing on our strategic growth initiatives including leveraging our enhanced e-commerce capabilities and CDP platform, expanding our international presence, growing our Men’s business and selectively opening new retail doors in the U.S.,” said Jack Schwefel, CEO of VNCE, in a statement. “Through this strategic partnership we will also benefit from leveraging Authentic’s expertise and Lifestyle and Entertainment platforms, which provide opportunities to grow the Vince brand into adjacent categories and territories.”
The Hershey Company has a deal in place to acquire two facilities from Weaver Popcorn Manufacturing.
The plants, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Whitestown, Indiana, will help to bolster production capabilities for SkinnyPop, which Hershey acquired for $1.6 billion in 2017 to expand in the salty snacks category. Adding the new locations plants will create more “flexibility, agility and resiliency” for brands across Hershey’s salty snacks portfolio, which has grown rapidly through SkinnyPop and additional acquisitions like Pretzels Inc.
Ninety-year-old, family-owned Weaver is already a co-manufacturer for SkinnyPop. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Rally, a composable checkout platform for ecommerce merchants, raised $12 million in a Series A funding round.
The financing was led by March Capital, with participation from Felix Capital, Commerce Ventures, Afore Capital, Alumni Ventures and Kraken Ventures. With the deal, March Capital Partner Hyun Koo will join Rally’s board.
Launched in 2020 by Carthook founders Jordan Gal and Rok Knez, Rally said its platform allows merchants to offer one-click checkout that is “bespoke,” so merchants can choose what works best for their teams.
Super.com, a super app built around providing savings to customers, closed a Series C funding round at $85 million.
The financing was led by Inovia Capital. New investors include Shopify President Harley Finkelstein, Ancestry.com CEO Deb Liu, former Slack CFO Allen Shim, former CFO of Slack, Golden State Warriors CFO Josh Proctor, Substack CEO Chris Best, Confluent CTO Neha Narkhede, CTO MyFitnessPal cofounder Mike Lee, co-founder of MyFitnessPal, Hyphen Capital, EDC and Plaza Ventures. Along with Inovia, existing investors include Telstra Ventures, Acrew, Lion Capital, Full In Partners and NBA superstar Steph Curry.
The new round comes months after Super.com rebranded from Snapcommerce and launched SuperCash, a cashback card that offers savings across shopping and travel, as well as opportunities to build credit. Drawing inspiration from super apps used internationally, the company calls it “an all-in-one savings super app for everyday Americans.”
The quick commerce marketplace is partnering with Rokt to expand beyond CPG advertising.
In some ways, retail media campaigns function like promotions in a brick-and-mortar store.
With retail media, brands can reach customers with advertising on the websites where shopping is taking place. This proximity to the point of sale provides an opportunity for brands who are already selling within a marketplace to take advantage of opportunities to elevate their position in search results, and stand out from a crowd of listings. This is the same goal that many brands have when they purchase highly-trafficked space in a store. But instead of checkout aisle and endcap placements, there are now sponsored products in search results.
But that’s not the end of the story.
The fact that retail media is internet-based and powered by first-party data collected at the purchase level is poised to open up new opportunities to reach consumers that go beyond today’s norms.
One such example is the introduction of non-endemic advertising. This allows brands that aren’t directly selling a product within a marketplace to purchase ad space.
Why would a brand want to advertise in a place where they can’t make a direct sale? The thinking goes like this: The marketplaces have the audience, and the data on them that allows for precise targeting. They can be places to learn about a new product, just as much as they can be a place to buy.
One early example of the recognition of the opportunity in non-endemic advertising arrived this month. The quick delivery marketplace Gopuff partnered with ecommerce technology company Rokt to enable brands outside the CPG category to advertise on Gopuff’s app.
Under the hood, the companies are combining machine learning technology from Rokt that is designed to present relevant offers to customers with a Gopuff audience that is made up of Gen Zers and millennials, engaged and curious about trying new brands.
The partnership will enable advertisers to target customer segments by demographic and location. Customers will also receive offers to try new brands, such as Hulu, AdoreMe and Noom.
What sets this advertising approach apart will be the consumer categories where it is focused. Typically, ads on Gopuff are focused around the convenience store items already available on the app. Now, shoppers will see other kinds of products in the mix, and they will click through to checkout pages that are outside Gopuff if they are interested in buying. This also has the potential to change how advertisers approach media spend. It means everyone from a sporting goods brand to a car company can now consider Gopuff as they plan. They must also consider how these channels work together as a whole.
"We are thrilled to partner with Gopuff and enhance its ad business, helping it move beyond the CPG category," said Elizabeth Buchanan, CCO of Rokt, in a statement. "By delivering relevant offers to Gopuff users, Rokt will help Gopuff Ads' brand partners across all categories create more meaningful customer connections and drive incremental sales."
The partnership underscores how retail media networks have three key building blocks for digital advertising: They’re a destination that people visit with an intent to shop, they have the audience that brands want to reach and they have data that can help to reach the right consumers.
It points to how ecommerce marketplaces can not only become the new store, but also emerge as ad networks like Facebook and Google before them. It’s a big reason why retail media networks have exploded over the last year, and why growth is forecast to continue to accelerate.