Walmart Splurges $51 Million On Outdoor Retailer Moosejaw

On Wednesday, retail giant Walmart WMT announced its acquisition of Moosejaw, a popular and fast-growing outdoor retailer, for $51 million. The all-cash deal closed on February 13.

Moosejaw is headquartered in Madison Heights, Michigan, and is a fairly small retailer, with only 10 physical stores across the Midwest. Its online presence, however, is huge, and a popular choice for people who lead an active outdoor lifestyle. Moosejaw carries over 400 brands, including Patagonia, The North Face, Canada Goose, Marmot, Arc’teryx, and more.

Walmart wants to continue to operate the Moosejaw website and stores as a standalone business, as well as a complementary one. With Walmart’s firepower and commitment to online growth, Moosejaw.com will definitely benefit.

Moosejaw’s success comes at a time when other outdoor and athletic retailers have struggled. Eastern Mountain Sports filed for bankruptcy just last week, while Gander Mountain, a stalwart in hunting, fishing, and camping, is reportedly near a bankruptcy filing. Sports Authority was liquidated last year after no interested buyer came forward, and Cabela’s CAB is in the process of being acquired by Bass Pro Shops.

This is an obvious “in-your-face” move directed at Walmart’s biggest rival, Amazon AMZN, especially as the e-commerce giant’s presence in retail continues to escalate. It also comes on the heels of other acquisitions. Walmart recently scooped up online footwear store Shoebuy, and notably bought Jet.com for $3 billion last year.

“Apparel and accessories is now the number one category for digital commerce, according to comScore, and we gain the experience of another well-established e-commerce player, this time in the active outdoor category," Walmart said in a statement

The acquisition gives Walmart access to Moosejaw’s industry relationships with top apparel brands like Patagonia and The North Face, and it allows the company to carry select items from these brands through its other storefronts like Walmart.com, Jet.com, and ShoeBuy, if it wanted to.

Currently, WMT is a #4 (Sell) on the Zacks Rank. Walmart is set to report its fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 financial results on February 21 before the bell.

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