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Walmart to focus on e-commerce

Walmart has been in the news this week after holding its annual investor day, but the real news isn't its recent acquisition of online retailer jet.com or its increased stake in fashion footwear business jd.com. The news is that Walmart is to focus on becoming a powerful e-tailer, perhaps giving Amazon a run for its money.

Walmart is keen to increase its online shopping profits, which to date have seen slow growth; just 8 percent last year and 11.8 percent in the last quarter. The company is aiming to increase its digital sales to 30 percent and to be regarded as go-to global online shopping destination. Currently its online sales represent only 3 percent of total turnover at 13,7 billion dollars last fiscal year.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say we are going through a transformative period. This company, over time, is going to look like more of an e-commerce company,” said CEO Doug McMillon.

Walmart said it will only open 35 Supercenters next year, nearly half from the 60 opened in 2016. It will also decrease its smaller operations, with 20 Neighbourhood Markets planned to be opened compared to 70 this year.

“We are encouraged by the progress we’re seeing across our business and we’re moving with speed to position the company to win the future of retail,” said McMillon. “Our customers want us to run great stores, provide a great e-commerce experience and find ways to save them money and time seamlessly.”

Photo credit: Walmart Facebook