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Walmart Takes on Abercrombie with Relaunch of No Boundaries

Walmart Inc. is coming for Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle — and everyone else targeting Gen Z.

The retail giant already sells style to younger shoppers with No Boundaries, a 30-year-old business that drives $2 billion in sales.

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But while it’s a big business, No Boundaries has never really been a brand.

Walmart plans to change that next month when it relaunches No Boundaries with a more cohesive assortment, better-connected styling and a newfangled marketing push ahead of the key back-to-school season.

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“We saw an opportunity in the market to really lean into the Gen Z customer with incredible style at an extraordinary price point that only someone like Walmart can bring given our scale,” said Denise Incandela, executive vice president of Walmart U.S.’ apparel division.

The Gen Z potential is big and growing.

According to Numerator, the households of adult Gen Zers born after 1996 make up 6.9 percent of the population and spend more than $10,000 annually in stores. Their preferred places to shop? Walmart (21 percent), Amazon (10 percent) and Target (8 percent).

No Boundaries
No Boundaries’ new look at Walmart.

The revamped No Boundaries will have 130 pieces across women’s, intimates, men’s, shoes and accessories, 80 percent of which will be priced under $15, including $5 T-shirts, crop tops and shorts.

Incandela, a Saks Fifth Avenue veteran who joined Walmart in 2017, has been busy with a soup to nuts reset of the retailer’s apparel business — from store remodels to the online marketplace to private label.

Walmart already started to tinker with private label in 2022 when it reimagined the $1 billion Secret Treasures business as Joyspun, giving intimates a new look.

Incandela called that “a tremendous success.”

And now, Walmart is ready to tackle something even bigger.

Incandela said No Boundaries, while successful, was “more of a label with unrelated huge volume driving key items that weren’t necessarily cohesive.”

“What we’ve done is to refresh this legacy brand; we hired a design team with years of experience in creating products for the Gen Z customer. It’s the first time we’ve had fashion designers dedicated to this brand. It’s a major shift in how we are thinking about building and presenting a cohesive brand versus a label.”

Where Walmart used to bring together manufacturers to churn out “volume driving programs,” Incandela said the company is now thinking about brand DNA and creating “a cohesive brand with a clear reason for being.”

Specifically, she said the idea is to position No Boundaries as a brand that “inspires and celebrates the potential of self-expression.”

No Boundaries
A No Boundaries men’s look.

There’s also another kind of self-expression baked into the equation.

Incandela said Walmart’s pivot to bring style and real fashion to the masses is helping the company staff up.

“We’re able to attract this really wonderful talent because democratizing fashion is a purpose that people really believe in,” she said.

“The fit has been redone, the quality, the colors, the styles, the shapes, the fabrics, we’re continuing to lean into essentials like denim and fleece that are core to the shopper, but we’ve more than doubled the denim options,” she said. “And we expanded the fleece from kind of what was more random items on racks to an entire fleece wall.”

Keeping its audience in mind, the brand also has extended its sizing and is adding some more sustainable touches, including a plant-based bra pad made from over 75 percent sugar cane.

To connect, No Boundaries is reaching out digitally, partnering with influencers, making pushes on TikTok and Instagram and has set up shop on Roblox.

“We are the first fashion brand to have commerce as part of the experience on Roblox,” Incandela said.

The gaming platform’s users can buy from No Boundaries on Roblox, receiving the item in real life as well as a digital twin for their avatar.

All of this is a new look for Walmart, which has 145 million people visiting its store and website each week and has leaned heavily on its scale to drive its business.

“We spent a large amount of time building ourselves to be one of the biggest grocery stores in the country, and that’s generating the traffic,” Incandela said. “The 145 million, the frequency in the traffic, that foundation is built.

“Now adding the style categories on top and being credible in those style categories is a huge differentiator for Walmart,” she said.

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