World’s largest retailer sees significant online potential

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 1st February 2010

US retail giant Walmart has announced plans to create, a new unit set up to improve its business online. The news is a further indication of the steady retail push toward the online channel.

The unit will be headed by Wan Ling Martello, formerly the chief financial officer of Walmart International. She will assume the role of executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“Online shopping has continued to significantly outpace the growth of traditional retail channels around the world,” vice chairman, Eduardo Castro-Wright told staff in a memo. “As you know, in the US we have a strong and growing e-commerce business.”

However, he added: “To accelerate the execution of these plans, we are announcing today several changes in how we pursue this business opportunity both here in the US as well as globally. In order to fully evolve into a multi-channel retailer here in the US, we need to make our organisation, particularly in merchandising and marketing, channel agnostic.”

Ling will be responsible for the development and execution of a global strategy for e-commerce for the business, establishing “cross-functional and cross-border Walmart relationships” in a bid to “accelerate and broaden” its global and the creation of technology platforms and applications.

Yesterday, the retailer made a number of additional structural changes to its US business in a bid to drive growth and enter new markets.

As a result, president and CEO Raul Vazquez has been promoted to executive vice president and president of its newly-created Walmart West Business division.

Other changes include the integration of Walmart’s realty division with store operations and logistics under the leadership of Bill Simon, executive vice president and COO, Walmart US.

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