Earlier this week Walmart announced they’re now selling all sorts of top-flight gear through an online platform curated by Moosejaw, the outdoor gear e-commerce store. You may remember that Walmart actually bought Moosejaw last year, but was letting the moose operate totally separately as its own entity. Until this week, that is. Something like 50 brands debuted at Walmart’s new premium gear shop on Monday, hand-picked by Moosejaw, including names like LEKI, Eddie Bauer, KLYMIT, Deuter, and Black Diamond. Lots of hard goods from Black Diamond, in fact.
But Black Diamond was apparently taken by surprise. On Tuesday, the mountaineering company sent a cease and desist letter to Walmart.
(Update 8/31): Deuter backpacks and Katadyn water filters have also asked Walmart to not sell their gear)
“We did not see or approve the statement which Walmart released Monday and have never sold to Walmart,” John Walbrecht, Black Diamond’s president, explained in a press release. “Black Diamond remains committed to our specialty retail partners and we do not plan on deviating from this strategy.”
Though Black Diamond has sold products to Moosejaw for a decade, they’ve asked Walmart to stop using their logo and trademarked product images on the Walmart website; the company also stressed that they’ve nothing to do with Walmart, didn’t approve any language in the announcement of the new online gear store, and they really don’t want customers thinking Black Diamond sponsors or is associated with Walmart in any way.
A quick click over to Walmart.com shows a lot of Black Diamond products still for sale, all listed as “out of stock,” though Black Diamond’s name isn’t listed among the brands on offer in the online store.
Walmart is eager to challenge Amazon’s superiority in the online marketplace, or maybe eager isn’t the right word. Feels compelled to, is probably more like it. The company has purchased a handful of specialty retailers in the past year, most of which specialize in premium brands. Moosejaw kicks off Walmart’s “Premium Outdoor Store,” but the plan is for the massive retailer to include brands not selected by Moosejaw in the future. For now, at least, that won’t include Black Diamond.
No word yet on whether any other brands will follow suit.