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Wal-Mart combines its e-commerce and tech teams

January 19, 2016 04:17 PM
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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is bringing its two technology teams under one organizational umbrella.

The retailer’s main Bentonville, Ark.-based technology team is being combined with @WalmartLabs, its Silicon Valley-based e-commerce research unit, under one organization called Walmart Technology, according to an internal memo distributed to employees by Wal-Mart CEO of global e-commerce Neil Ashe that Wal-Mart provided to Internet Retailer. Chief information officer Karenann Terrell will lead one unit, referred to as ISD, while Jeremy King will continue to lead @WalmartLabs, with both reporting to Ashe.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman says the two divisions will officially become one next month and employ 8,000 people. She didn’t say whether any Bentonville employees will be moving to Silicon Valley or vice versa. Wal-Mart is No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide.

In the memo to employees, Ashe says the move was made to better marry the retailer’s online and mobile assets with its 11,500 stores worldwide, including 4,655 in the United States.

“Wal-Mart is going to be the first company to deliver seamless shopping at scale,” he wrote. “What that means is we’re creating one connected shopping experience, whether customers are in our stores or clubs, online or using a smartphone. Our customers don’t think of these as different experiences. To them, it’s just Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club.”

Ashe goes on to add in the memo that most employees will not see any change in their role.

This news comes just days after Wal-Mart announced plans to close 154 bricks-and-mortar locations in the U.S., including its 102 small-format Wal-Mart Express locations, and cut 16,000 jobs overall.

Last September, @WalmartLabs made its 15th acquisition since its 2011 launch when it bought customer relationship management platform PunchTab for an undisclosed price. Wal-Mart created @WalmartLabs in 2011 after acquiring Silicon Valley mobile and social technology start-up Kosmix. Wal-Mart, which has had offices in Silicon Valley since 2000, had more than 1,500 employees in that technology hub by 2013.

 

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