ModCloth Confirms Walmart Sale & Faces Customer Concerns

Photo: ModCloth/Shutterstock/REX.
Last week, ModCloth announced a major change. For the last 15 years, ModCloth has worked as an independent company, growing from a dorm room to a huge fashion label that has three offices and hundreds of employees. But that's about to change. News came that ModCloth would join Jet.com and the Walmart family of companies. Fans of the brand, which was one of the first to proclaim Photoshop-free campaigns and truly offer up a full size range, took the announcement with mixed feelings.
"I am excited to announce that we are joining the Jet.com and Walmart family. This will give us the necessary resources and support that we need as a business to grow. Growth allows us to reach more women, grow our community, and amplify our message," ModCloth cofounder Susan Gregg Koger wrote on the brand's blog. "Our mission to help our customers feel like the best version of themselves continues. And our commitment to inclusivity continues. Our amazing team continues. And we can open more stores — in your hometown! I hope you will continue to join us as well on this next phase of our journey together."
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Koger's blog post met with both messages of support and a fair share of criticism. While many women were glad to hear that the brand would be expanding its brick-and-mortar presence (ModCloth currently has a single permanent store in Austin, TX, and has had pop-up shops, too.), others questioned the company's alignment with Walmart, a company that seems to stand in stark contrast to ModCloth.
"Walmart hurts local communities, has a terrible track record for human rights violation in its supply chain, actively restricts the right to unionize, stands against the rights of women, and refuses to provide basic healthcare for its employees," one commenter wrote. "As such, I will no longer be a customer of ModCloth."
"Walmart doesn’t respect their workers or respect women. You’ve sold out to one of the worst companies in the world. They don’t pay a living wage, a huge percentage of their workers are on food stamps, and they hold holiday food drives so their employees can feed their families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’ve been sued for gender discrimination. They refuse to stop using sweatshops in other countries," another added. "This is a major disappointment. I’m done shopping with you."
Not all of the comments were negative, however. Several customers expressed excitement over the news. "I am thrilled that we will be able to purchase her products locally- BRAVO and thank you!" wrote one.
"Wal-Mart obviously understands how to grow a business and has a far reaching market. I am sure you made the right choice and I have confidence that you will still uphold your views and values within this new venture," wrote another.
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Koger's blog post promises that the next chapter of ModCloth would continue her mission of complete inclusivity. She adds that the only constant in business is change — and that sometimes, change can come with strong feelings. She adds that the new partnership would allow ModCloth to reach even more women, not only by offering up more clothes to more people, but by amplifying its message of positivity and community.
ModCloth and Koger haven't responded to criticism citing Walmart's history and controversy with supply chains and discrimination or offered up any additional details on how the new developments would affect ModCloth's day-to-day operations.
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