Walmart just acquired Bonobos and some loyal fans of the menswear brand are deeply disturbed by the news.
Customers have expressed their dismay on social media, saying that they news has convinced them to ditch the brand.
“Talk about a hugely shocking disappointment,” one person wrote on Bonobos’ Facebook page. “I can’t believe my favourite clothing brand sold out this hardcore. Don’t think I’ll be able to continue my support of Bonobos any longer. Sad day.”
Another wrote: “This screams, ‘we have no idea who our customer is’ Good luck.”
Another said: “and, just like that… Bonobos is now no longer cool.”
These shoppers’ visceral reactions to the news might have something to do with there being little overlap in the customers of Bonobos and those of Walmart.
Bonobos sells slim-fitting casual and work clothing for men online at a price point of about $US100 an item or up to $US1,000 for a suit. The company, which did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, markets itself to hip, young, urban, fashion-conscious men.
The price range for Walmart’s menswear, which appeals to a much broader audience, is closer to $US10 to $US30.
That stark contrast is exactly why the move would make strategic sense for Walmart, Oliver Chen, an analyst at Cowen & Co., said as rumours of the acquisition began to circulate in April.
For Walmart, Bonobos offers “a brand with loyal customers, premium price points, and expertise in a differentiated niche,” as well as fresh merchandising and fashion talent, Chen wrote in a research note. It gives Walmart an opportunity to enter a high-margin specialty category that would help it better compete with Amazon, he said.
There would be some major benefits for Bonobos as well, assuming the brand wouldn’t alienate too many customers by “selling out” to Walmart, as one shopper lamented on Twitter.
“A transaction would accelerate Bonobos’ scale and share … and catapult Bonobos’ brand awareness,” Chen wrote.
But some critics just can’t make sense of the potential marriage of the companies. Here’s what some people are saying on Twitter:
Ugh, not thrilled that I have a closet full of walmart clothes now. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I think about it.
— Boris Fowler (@borisfowler) June 16, 2017
Sad. Not sure what the upside of this is. Quality surely to go down.
— John R. Keippel III (@rayray5884) June 16, 2017
Walmart is buying Bonobos…that’s how you completely sell out your brand.
— David Hicks (@ALL_CAPS) June 16, 2017