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Today in weird retail happenings, it was reported that Modcloth — the quirky independent women’s clothing retailer known as much for its progressive work environment and diversity as its assortment of feline-printed retro frocks — is being acquired by Jet.com, the Amazon wannabe which sells everything from laundry detergent to patio furniture, at the end of this week.
Jezebel first reported that Modcloth CEO Matthew Kaness revealed the news to his staff on Wednesday morning during an all-hands meeting at the company’s headquarters. According to the site’s sources, employees were audibly displeased upon receiving the news. Modcloth and Jet.com did not immediately return The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment.
Founded in 2002 by Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger, Modcloth made a name for itself in the emerging e-commerce landscape as a hub for vintage fashions, specializing in retro dresses with kitschy and quirky patterns. Through on-brand messaging which championed diversity (in size, race and gender), the e-tailer grew to $150 million in revenue by 2014. The San Francisco-based brand also became known as one of the most progressive companies in fashion, paving the way by banning the term “plus-size” and being one of the first mainstream businesses to cast a transgender model. The company launched swimwear and bridal in 2016.
However in recent months, Modcloth has faced rounds of devastating layoffs, according to the Jezebel report.
Membership-based ecommerce site Jet.com, on the other hand, has been the internet’s hottest e-commerce darling, drawing comparisons to Amazon for its breadth of product, as well as the $820 million it raised in funding. Last August, the company was sold to Walmart for $3.3 billion. Given Walmart’s rocky track record over issues like minimum wage, sexist costumes and working conditions, Modcloth’s acquisition by the discount giant is a head-scratcher, indeed.
Updated, Friday, March 17 1:45 p.m.: Walmart has confirmed the acquisition of Modcloth’s operations and assets. The deal closed on March 17. Jet.com, however, is not mentioned in the release.
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