On Monday, Walmart launched an online Premium Outdoor Store curated by Moosejaw. If you recall, Moosejaw was purchased by Walmart back in February 2017 for $51 million. Instead of keeping the two brands separate, it now looks like Walmart is trying to bring speciality outdoor goods under the main corporate umbrella — at least online.
While most outdoor brands have supplied Moosejaw for years, many are not too keen to be associated with the Walmart brand. Black Diamond is one of those. According to SNEWS, the company sent a cease and desist notice to Walmart yesterday demanding they stop using the Black Diamond and diamond logo trademarks in a manner likely to confuse consumers into believing that Walmart is an authorized dealer of Black Diamond or that the new outdoor Walmart.com site is otherwise associated with or sponsored by Black Diamond. As of yesterday night, you could still search for Black Diamond gear but it was listed as “out of stock.”
Walmart claims that the decision to be a part of the Premium Outdoor Store going forward will be up to each brand. Right now, many of the big names are there including Eider, Jack Wolfskin, Eddie Bauer, ExOfficio, Deuter, Therm-a-Rest and more.
If you compare prices, Walmart seems to be offering a heavy discount on some items — the Therm-a-Rest Tranquility 6 Tent goes for $449 on Walmart.com versus $600 direct from Therm-a-Rest, for example. But online retailers like Backcountry.com are also offering the tent for $449 on sale at the moment, so is the Walmart discount really a big deal? How is this any different than selling through Amazon (which offers the tent for $449 right now, by the way)?
I am curious to see how this plays out. More and more we buy our gear online these days so its only natural that retailers like Walmart want in on the action — that’s why they purchased Moosejaw in the first place. But can they get past their “discount” image both in the eyes of the outdoor brands (especially those committed to speciality retail like Black Diamond) as well as the consumer?
A corporate spokesperson from Walmart reached out to me today and had this to say:
“We’re really excited about our new Premium Outdoor destination curated by Moosejaw. At a time when the outdoor industry is working hard to expose more people to the amazing experiences they can have outside, we feel like it’s a really positive development.
The decision to be part of this new experience will continue to be up to each brand, and our hope is that brands, and even other retailers, share our commitment to driving a truly inclusive outdoor industry. As we grow the Premium Outdoor Store, we will continue to look for leading brands and retailers that want to reach a new, wider audience.”