NEW YORK: Lord & Taylor, once a leading apparel retailer, is joining forces with Walmart to create an online store on that will offer over 100 fashion brands, in a sign of the strategies retailers will need to consider in the new retail environment.

This is according to the New York Times, which reports that Lord & Taylor and Walmart are both referring to the new online store as a premium destination, reflecting both Lord & Taylor’s need to reach a broader audience, and for Walmart to attract higher net worth individuals.

Though Lord & Taylor already has an online shopping property, its audience is a drop in the ocean at 2.2 million compared to Walmart’s 101 million. Part of the strategy it seems, for Walmart, is to offer its marketplace function to brands in a style popularised by Amazon, by offering a “store within a store”.

Later this year, Amazon is tipped to become the market leading apparel retailer in the US, a title that Walmart is not prepared to ignore. According to CNBC, shoppers have been actively searching the retailer’s existing ecommerce sites for premium brands, said Denise Incandela, head of fashion for Walmart’s US e-commerce operations.

Walmart has been working toward a more affluent shopper with acquisitions such as Bonobos and Modcloth, as well as internal innovations such as an exclusively online bedding and mattress business. Interestingly, Walmart’s redesigned premium ecommerce site has reduced mentions of the word ‘Walmart’ to a minimum, the Times observes, as it borrows a premium feel.

For Lord & Taylor too, the new channel is welcome news. “This relationship is a major milestone for us. ... This is an example of how we are thinking differently and innovating,” said RJ Cilley, senior vice president of Lord & Taylor’s digital division, in comments reported by CNBC. “We are growing our footprint to reach exponentially more customers.”

Like many other US department stores, Lord & Taylor is trying to cut physical costs while expanding online revenue.

Sourced from the New York Times, CNBC; additional content by WARC staff