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Walmart is getting into a Stitch Fix-like business by partnering with Kidbox, which is a subscription clothing plan focused on babies and children.

CNBC reports that “Walmart shoppers will be able to purchase as many as six different boxes from Walmart.com, curated by Kidbox, each year. That means there’s one new box available for each season, as well as for going back to school and the holidays, the companies said. Each box will include four to five items and cost $48, which Walmart says will be about 50 percent off the suggested retail price. Parents will have the option to either keep all the items in the box for no additional fees, or return everything and receive their money back. Kidbox curates the boxes based on a styling quiz that’s completed before an order is placed.”

The move comes as Walmart has been ramping up its clothing offering, with both private label and national brand items for sale both in its stores and online.

The CNBC story points out that the children’s market has been getting a lot of attention lately: “Target has found incredible success with its Cat & Jack line of kids’ clothing, which brought in more than $2 billion in sales in its first year in business. Gap tested out kids’ subscription boxes, but it ended the effort after a 14-month pilot.

“Stitch Fix has a children’s category, now, while Rent the Runway — which offers apparel on a rental basis — just earlier this month announced it would be getting into kids’ clothing. Foot Locker, meanwhile, recently invested $12.5 million in kids’ clothing company Rockets of Awesome, which offers boxes to parents as a subscription, but clothing can also be purchased a la carte.”

This is not Walmart’s first foray into the subscription business; it has had Beauty Box, offering cosmetics samples and related items, since 2014.
KC's View:
I think that the children’s clothing subscription business may have some inherent challenges. The good news is that they grow, and so always need new clothes. But the secret sauce at Stitch Fix is that it fixates (pun intended) on style choices made by its members and learns from them; kids, on the other hand, can be more fickle in their choices, largely because they are vulnerable to all sorts of cultural and peer influences. That’ll be something that Walmart and Kidbox have tio navigate through.

But … for the most part, I think this is a very smart idea. As I said, kids grow and always need new clothes, and Walmart/Kidbox will be locking in at least some of this business. I’ve said it here often - automatic replenishment and subscriptions are a wonderful opportunity for retailers, and way too few of them are taking embracing it … which means that they are vulnerable to those that do (like Amazon’s Subscribe & Save).