Walmart is overhauling one of its most popular apparel lines — its top intimates and sleepwear brand.
The discounter has begun to roll out bras, underwear, socks, pajamas and other items under the new brand, Joyspun, online and in stores. The brand replaces Secret Treasures, a major national line that has been in Walmart’s big-box stores for more than two decades.
Secret Treasures, Walmart’s largest intimates and sleepwear line, drove $1 billion in sales last fiscal year — one of the retailer’s 13 private brands of general merchandise to do so. It also captured the largest customer base across the women’s intimates and sleepwear market in the U.S., with one in five buying from the brand in the 12 months ended January 2022, according to The NPD Group, a market researcher that tracks sales across mass retailers, mall retailers and direct-to-consumer players.
Yet the intimates and sleepwear space has gotten more competitive, especially during the pandemic as people worked remotely and spent more time at home. Now, a larger number of retailers are vying for market share, including shopping mall staples like Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle-owned Aerie, mass retailers like Target and newcomers like ThirdLove, Yitty and Skims.
Many of the newer entrants emphasize comfort, better fit and body positivity.
“It’s a white-hot moment for the intimates category,” said Denise Incandela, executive vice president of apparel and private brands at Walmart U.S. “We wanted to take our leading brand, which was Secret Treasures, and reimagine it to offer the quality and elevated prints and premium design details, as well as a new brand name and colors and packaging and modernize in a way that brings us into the future.”
For the past year and a half, Incandela said, the retailer did consumer outreach that helped develop a line with a wide range of silhouettes, softer fabrics and trendier styles.
Joyspun shoppers will see a more modern spin on basic items from bras to underwear. All of the items sell at a low price point, with bras starting at $11.98. Prices range from $7.98 for a sleep shirt to $34.98 for a quilted robe.
The relaunch could come at a good time. Walmart, the largest grocer in the country by sales, has drawn more high-income customers to its stores as inflation drives up the prices of food. Those shoppers could become a fresh audience for its apparel, particularly if they make more frequent trips to its big-box stores or consider new ways to stretch their dollars.
Joyspun is also hitting Walmart’s stores and websites ahead of the holiday season. Incandela declined to say what percentage of intimates and sleepwear sell during the fourth quarter, but said it’s the biggest sales season for the categories.
Incandela said shoppers will notice new details and innovations, such as bra cups that mold better to a person’s figure, underwear with lace and youthful prints and robes made of plush fabrics. It will also sell gift sets for the holidays, like eye mask and robe combinations.
Walmart has gone after a bigger share of customers’ closets over the past few years. To that end, it has hired designers and debuted exclusive apparel brands with more style and higher price points. And earlier this year, it launched Love & Sports, a fitness and swimwear brand created by fashion designer Michelle Smith and SoulCycle instructor Stacey Griffith. It also unveiled a virtual fitting room tool that allows shoppers to see how a shirt, dress or another clothing item would look on their own body.
Incandela said she hopes those moves inspire women to think differently about Walmart’s apparel offerings. And “we want her to rethink what she’s got under her wardrobe, too,” she said.
Sales of intimates and sleepwear broadly have cooled down since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic when many consumers replenished their intimates drawers and splurged on pajama sets. Sales of intimates declined by 6% in dollar terms and by 11% in units during the first nine months of 2022, according to The NPD Group. Sleepwear sales dropped by 3% in dollars and were roughly flat in unit sales during that period.
But spending in the categories is still up over pre-pandemic levels, according to NPD. Intimates dollar sales during the first nine months were 15% higher than the same period in 2019. Sleepwear dollar sales are up 52% over that time frame.
Even as some inflation-conscious shoppers watch their spending, items like underwear and socks remain a staple that people must replace, said Kristen Classi-Zummo, a fashion analyst for the NPD Group. She said it is also a popular holiday gift and a part-time uniform for hybrid workers.
“We wear our sleepwear a lot more, so you’re a bit quicker to replenish your pajamas,” she said.
Plus, as people return to holiday parties and social events, they are not only buying dresses and blazers, she said. They also want the shapewear, pushup bras and other items that go with them.