Walmart has acquired online outdoor apparel and gear retailer Moosejaw as the US retail giant works to close the gap on Amazon.

The retailer made the acquisition, which closed on 13 February, for around US$51m. Moosejaw will now join Walmart's US e-commerce organisation.

Headquartered in Michigan, Moosejaw stocks over 400 brands, including Patagonia, The North Face and Marmot, offering apparel and gear for a range of activities from climbing and hiking to swimming and yoga. As well as a large web presence, it also has ten physical stores. 

Walmart says Moosejaw will continue to operate its site and stores as it has in the past, and will be run as a standalone and complementary brand to its other e-commerce sites.

The retailer is hoping to utilise the company's "strong industry relationships, and rich product content" to enhance its customer experience.

The acquisition of Moosejaw gives Walmart the experience of another well-established e-commerce player. The retail giant made a $3bn cash deal to acquire e-commerce start-up Jet.com in August last year. In turn, Jet.com acquired online footwear, clothing and accessories retailer ShoeBuy last month for $70m.

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Walmart has begun slowing down the pace of its store openings as it looks to ramp up growth in its online division as part of a new strategic framework.

The e-commerce acquisitions could help the retailer become a more significant competitor to Amazon, although its sales are still dwarfed by the online giant.

Last year, Walmart's online sales were $13.7bn, while Amazon's sales (excluding its cloud-services business) reached $99.1bn.

Walmart turns focus to online as store openings slow