BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart’s plans to shutter its Walmart Express format and close a total of 269 stores in the United States and globally is not the only way the retailer is optimizing its operations. The company is creating a new unit called Walmart Technology, which will employ a staff of 8,000.
According to media reports, the mega-retailer next month will merge its two current technology groups into one. The one group operates from its headquarters in Bentonville and focuses on systems for its stores, while San Bruno, Calif.-based @Walmart Labs facilitates e-commerce development.
As consumers look to incorporate more technology into the shopping experience, this latest move by Walmart is aimed at further growing its annual $13-billion e-commerce business — including its recently launched click-and-collect service. The company is also trying to keep pace with the likes of Amazon and compete more strongly with other traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.
"Our customers don’t think of these as different experiences. To them, it’s just Walmart or Sam’s Club," Neil Ashe, head of the company's e-commerce division, said in an internal memo.
Ashe pointed to the introduction of new mobile payment service, Walmart Pay, as the type of offering that the formation of the Walmart Technology unit will facilitate.
According to the memo, Walmart Chief Information Officer Karenann Terell and Chief Technical Officer Jeremy King will continue to helm the corporate tech team and @WalmartLabs, respectively. They will both report to Ashe, who will lead the newly combined unit.
Walmart currently operates 11,504 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries.