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01/18/2016

Walmart to Ramp Up e-Commerce Efforts with Tech Group Merger

Following its plans unveiled late last week to close 269 stores and overhaul its almost 11,600 locations worldwide, Walmart will further optimize operations by merging its two tech groups.

According to reports, the mega-retailer next month will combine the group that operates from its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., and focuses on systems for its stores, with San Bruno, Calif.-based Walmart Labs, which facilitates e-commerce development.

The new unit will be called Walmart Technology and employ a staff of 8,000.

As consumers look to incorporate more technology into the shopping experience, Walmart's move looks to further grow its annual $13 billion e-commerce business – including its recently launched click-and-collect service – as well as 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 mobile payment service Walmart Pay as the type of offering that the organizational change will facilitate.

According to the memo, CIO Karenann Terell and Chief Technical Officer Jeremy King will continue to helm the corporate tech team and @WalmartLabs, respectively, both reporting to Ashe, who will lead the combined unit.

Walmart operates 11,504 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries.