ModCloth May Be Bought By A Walmart Subsidiary

by James Hale

Fans of twee dresses and whimsical prints, hold on to your hats: According to a March 15 report from The Cut, a Walmart subsidiary may be acquiring ModCloth. The report comes after audio that appears to be from an internal meeting at Modcloth was released by Jezebel, allegedly revealing that the indie clothing company was acquired by a Walmart subsidiary called Jet.

According to Jezebel's source, ModCloth CEO Matthew Kaness asked employees to keep the news under wraps until its planned reveal date: March 17, one day after the acquisition is set to officially close. Jezebel reported that employees received offer letters from Walmart on the morning of March 15. An anonymous, current ModCloth employee also told Jezebel, "It was explicitly stated that starting Friday paychecks come from Walmart." Bustle has reached out to both ModCloth and Walmart for comment and has not received a response at this time.

The alleged acquisition by Walmart is alarming to some ModCloth fans. Jezebel succinctly laid out the apparent differences in ModCloth and Walmart's corporate cultures and business practices:

"Modcloth always branded itself as a hip, quirky, independent retailer for smart, bookish girls; being acquired by a mega-corporation best known for union-busting and underpaying their workers is, to say the least, ironic. (After years of protests, Walmart gave its employees a raise in February 2016, from $9 to a whopping... $10.) Modcloth won praise from us in 2014 for doing a particularly good job selling plus-size clothing; Walmart got in trouble the same year for featuring a collection of what their website called 'fat girl costumes.'"

Jezebel also noted that in the recorded audio of the meeting provided by their source, Kaness said Walmart and ModCloth are "culturally" similar.

"When I think about the quality of people I've met at Jet and their ambitions and how it aligns with ours," the ModCloth CEO reportedly said. “And when when I think about their parent company Walmart, who has the resources — but also has when you’ve spent time researching it and understanding it, they’ve spent a lot of time working on corporate responsibility and environmental initiatives and opportunities for their employees and their careers. I think there’s a lot of overlap culturally with what they’re about and what we’re about. I think over time this is going to become an incredible marriage."

The response from employees was minimally lukewarm at best: "In the recording we heard, employees in the room can be heard laughing in what sounds like disbelief," Jezebel reported.

Disbelief is echoing across Twitter, too, as dismayed ModCloth customers react to the news.

And some tweeters are sharing ModCloth replacements for those jumping ship.

How dramatically the acquisition will affect ModCloth's corporate culture remains to be seen, but it looks like a good chunk of ModCloth's customers may not stick around to find out.