Walmart partners with Justice amid back-to-school frenzy

Retail Dive


Dive Brief:

  • Walmart announced Thursday that it formed a new partnership with tween brand Justice, just as back-to-school shopping season closes in.

  • Through the collaboration, over 140 items from Justice's assortment — including clothing, accessories, bedding and backpacks — are now available on Walmart.com and in 2,400 Walmart locations nationwide, according to a press release Thursday.

  • Shoes and pet accessories will be launched in September, Walmart said. New products from Justice will be released seasonally.

Dive Insight:

Despite the unpredictable environment, Walmart and other retailers are gearing up for a back-to-school shopping season that might mirror pre-pandemic growth.

Staying true to its reputation of offering affordable prices to consumers, prices for Justice products at Walmart start at $8 for leggings, $13 for tie-dye sweatshirts and joggers, and $18 for oversized hoodies. "It's the same designs and quality girls know and love, now more accessible than ever," Denise Incandela, executive vice president of apparel and private brands at Walmart U.S., wrote in the announcement.

Before the partnership, Justice was previously available in 1,000 brand stores, said Ralph Gindi, president of Bluestar Alliance, the company that acquired Justice from Ascena Retail Group last year for $90 million. "Justice connects to so many girls in an incredibly impactful way, we wanted to make sure even more consumers would have the opportunity to grow up with the brand," Gindi said.

Last year's back-to-school spending was flat year over year at $28.1 billion or about $529 per household, according to projections from Deloitte's 2020 survey. Parents were projected to spend roughly $12.2 billion in store and about $10.4 billion online.

This year, overall back-to-school spending is expected to increase by 16% year over year to $32.5 billion for K-12 students, according to a recent survey from Deloitte. Survey respondents said they intend to spend about $612 per child, with more consumers planning to shop in physical stores than online — signaling economic optimism from consumers.

And with the child tax credit, under the American Rescue Plan, on its way to 39 million households in the U.S. starting in July, Cowen analysts said the program could be an "underappreciated catalyst for consumer spend."

In response to back-to-school spending demand, Target announced on Thursday it is offering more inventory for popular items and the return of the Teacher Prep Event. In a press release Thursday, Kohl's also reiterated its apparel and dorm essential offerings this shopping season.

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