Why is Walmart killing off a $1 billion private label?

Discussion
Walmart’s new Joyspun brand, which replaces Secret Treasures – Photo: Walmart
Oct 25, 2022

Walmart has grown its Secret Treasures private label into a $1 billion business that has the largest customer base of any brand in the women’s intimates and sleepwear market. That accomplishment isn’t stopping the retailer from replacing the brand with a new line of products under the Joyspun name.

A blog post by Denise Incandela, executive vice president, apparel and private brands, Walmart U.S., maintains that the need for the change was the result of a transformation taking place within the intimates category that emphasizes “inclusivity, body positivity and styles that prioritize comfort and confidence.”

Ms. Incandela said that her team took on the attitude of a startup in developing the new elevated line. “We approached building Joyspun like a contemporary brand, with in-house designers and one consistent point of view across the collection. The result is elevated quality, construction, fit and style at sharp price points that only Walmart can offer.”

The Joyspun line, available in Walmart’s stores and online, has over 300 styles of bras, hosiery, maternity, panties, sleepwear and socks prices between $7.98 and $34.98. The brand has been developed to be both inclusive and focused on body positivity with items in 18 size options. The bra line offers sizes from 34A to 46DDD. Underwear is available from XS to XXXL.

Why is Walmart killing off a $1 billion private label?
Walmart’s new Joyspun brand, which replaces Secret Treasures – Photo: Walmart

The retailer has broadened its selection of bra and underwear styles. Bras are now available in bralettes, flexible cups, unlined mesh and wire-free options. Underwear includes bikini, cheeky, hipster and thong styles.

Ms. Incandela said that current market conditions make now the right time to introduce the Joyspun brand. She pointed to changes taking place in the intimates market, Walmart’s inflation-fighting prices and the timing of the launch to the 2022 holidays selling season as positives in the chain’s favor.

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done to rebuild and refresh our market-leading sleepwear and intimates brand in a meaningful way to make it more relevant to a broad range of customers,” she wrote. “We feel like it’s a big unlock for an extraordinarily large business within our fashion portfolio and we’re excited about the five-star feedback we’re starting to receive from customers who have discovered it.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the decision to end the Secret Treasures line suggest that it lacked brand equity even among the consumers who purchased it? Do you agree that the new Joyspun line could represent “a big unlock for an extraordinarily large business within” Walmart’s fashion portfolio?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"It’s an unusual move to rebrand what seems to be a successful brand so it will be interesting to see whether Walmart can expand the brand as hoped."
"Obviously Walmart has done their due diligence on a variety of fronts and saw a need to rebrand and tweak merchandise offerings."
"Lack of brand equity is spot on. Walmart needs brand equity with Joyspun to drive more people to its already unlocked fashion business online."

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22 Comments on "Why is Walmart killing off a $1 billion private label?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Walmart’s is huge in apparel. However most of this is driven by high store traffic and purchasing on convenience and impulse. Underlying loyalty and brand affinity is weak across most of the offer. To grow, Walmart has to inject more brand equity and attract customers based on the strength of its ranges. It also has an opportunity to convert footfall that currently has little interest in its clothing. The rebranding of intimates is part of this initiative. In some ways, it is taking a leaf out of Target’s playbook. However Walmart has to realize that there is more to rebranding than just changing the name: display and merchandising in-store also needs to be improved.

Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

This is a curious decision with what appears to be a successful product line. To stay competitive, leading retailers will continuously have new product lines in the pipeline, and so this move isn’t completely surprising. However given the past success of the Secret Treasures line, one can only conclude that there’s likely more to this decision than what is being said publicly. It’s hard to say if Joyspun will be a big “unlock” for their portfolio, but it’s an interesting move nonetheless.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

What’s in a name? If you have to put your brand in a retailer, it is crucial. If the retailer can deliver it to their millions of shoppers, location trumps brand name.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

I can hear Martin Waters, CEO of Victoria’s Secret, saying softly, “it’s not that easy, is it, Sam?”

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

The decision to rebrand seems counter-intuitive but it would be a mistake to doubt Ms. Incandela, whose career speaks for itself.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

Clearly she perceives it as tainted. Time for something fresh.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

The name “Secret Treasures” may have been a nod to the longtime brand positioning of Victoria’s Secret, but that train has left the station. Surely the merchants at Walmart have been paying attention as VS struggles to regain its relevance. The trend toward simplicity, activewear and body inclusivity is something for Walmart to embrace.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Actually, I think this decision suggests that the old brand did indeed have brand equity. It did indeed have a brand promise. And it was the wrong promise. So the decisions boils down to creating a new brand with a new brand promise. Sounds like creating a new brand was a better long term decision than evolving an old brand that may have had difficulty shedding its old persona.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I am not sure I understand why a billion dollar brand that Walmart customers already love needs a new name. New fashions, of course, but the name change is puzzling.

I agree with Neil that improving what’s happening on the sales floor is imperative. Imagine how much more Walmart would sell if the displays in its fashion departments were less warehouse and more boutique?

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Despite limited brand equity, Secret Treasures drove sales and shopper insights that will help Joyspun succeed.

Joyspun will help Walmart unlock the private label apparel hit it seeks by serving the needs of more women. The timing is perfect for Joyspun’s mix of EDLP, inclusivity, quality and comfort. As Victoria’s Secret undergoes brand transformation, Walmart has a timely opportunity to grow sales and share.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Obviously Walmart has done their due diligence on a variety of fronts and saw a need to rebrand and tweak merchandise offerings. I’m assuming these new products will favor consumers’ positive attitudes towards comfort and athleisure’s feel and look. Couple this with very attractive price points and consumers could respond favorably to the new brand positioning.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

God bless Lizzo. She, more than anyone, I think, is changing what body image positivity looks like. You may not like what she does, but so what? You’re not who she’s aiming for anyway. A proper heads up to Dove for starting the “show.”

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

This strikes me as marketers talking to other marketers and not taking action based on their customers. Everything they are doing could be done within the Secret Treasures branding. And the name Joyspun says nothing to me.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

It’s an unusual move to rebrand what seems to be a successful brand so it will be interesting to see whether Walmart can expand the brand as hoped.

Tara Kirkpatrick
BrainTrust

Lack of brand equity is spot on. Walmart needs brand equity with Joyspun to drive more people to its already unlocked fashion business online. Walmart’s unlock in fashion has been happening online as its expanded inventory, most likely by tapping its third-party resellers across Asia that it has relationships with since it owns Indian e-commerce marketplaces Flipkart and Shopsy. The online/mobile shopping experience on Walmart feels like Ali Express/SHEIN to me for how much trendy, cheap clothing and shoes will come up in search. Joyspun, therefore, looks to me more as a statement of Walmart’s significant investment and commitment to the fashion category. (It also follows the virtual try-on tech the retailer announced a couple months ago.) The more it builds its in-store label Joyspun, the more consumers will think to search for fashion on Walmart’s app, and the stickier Walmart will be — particularly to the female consumer.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

You don’t upgrade a Chevy and continue to call it a Chevy. You upgrade to a Chevy and call it a Cadillac. No one will appreciate that with the old brand name. The line is designed with “elevated quality, construction, fit, and style.” No one would appreciate the change with the old brand name.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

The actual brand here is Walmart. I suspect that customers who liked Secret Treasures will have no trouble transitioning to Joyspun. A new brand name can attract new customers and bring further attention to Walmart’s apparel business.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

I’m not sure where the story is here. They are not walking away from the market, rather embracing it in a new way, so it all comes down to how they market/position the transition. If they consciously educate consumers as to the benefits of the new brand over the old, possibly even incentivize an initial purchase and retire the old brand cautiously/slowly, I see no issues with evolving their house brands to better fit customer needs.

Suzanne331
Guest

Words are important, and names are important to a brand. The shift to a more inclusive name and vision for the brand is smart, and excellent timing given today’s conversations about inclusiveness.

Rachelle King
BrainTrust

Like most brands, consumer usage has changed with Covid and that’s no different for Secret Treasures. Smart move by Walmart to update and expand the product line to be more reflective of what consumers want from underclothing today.

But, changing the brand name — that’s always tricky and could be a big gamble for Walmart. But, they have changed PL brand names before with good success in Diapers. The odds are in their favor. They just need to bring consumers along.

Anil Patel
BrainTrust

Today, it has become crucial for brands to promote Inclusivity and Body Positivity. So, I believe, Walmart made the right move by following a rebranding approach. Replacing the traditional line “Secret Treasures“ with a new line “Joyspun” will help them align targeting efforts for their new Ideal Customer Profile” more effectively.

Christopher P. Ramey
BrainTrust

Private label products in value driven stores rarely equate to much brand equity. However, the brand has to resonate with their customers. My guess is Secret Treasures missed the mark.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It’s an unusual move to rebrand what seems to be a successful brand so it will be interesting to see whether Walmart can expand the brand as hoped."
"Obviously Walmart has done their due diligence on a variety of fronts and saw a need to rebrand and tweak merchandise offerings."
"Lack of brand equity is spot on. Walmart needs brand equity with Joyspun to drive more people to its already unlocked fashion business online."

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