Wal-Mart changes its name to focus on e-commerce



Wal-Mart Stores Inc will be known as Walmart Inc, effective Feb. 1, the world’s largest retailer said on Wednesday, as part of its efforts to rebrand itself as more than a brick and mortar store.

The name change highlights the company’s online, pickup and delivery and mobile shopping capabilities.

Chief Executive Doug McMillon felt the name change was needed to be “consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer.” He added: “Our customers know us as Walmart and today they shop with us not only in our stores but online and with our app as well.”

The name change is not the only move by McMillon of late to update the company. In September, he announced the company would build new headquarters in its hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.

The company, which has more than 11,600 stores around the world, will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘WMT,’ and it shares lately have been trading near all-time highs.

A customer pushes a shopping cart at a Walmart store in Chicago, Illinois, US, November 23, 2016.

Surging online orders

An apparent shift to online sales has overwhelmed the retail giant, as it confessed Wednesday that soaring digital purchases have caused delays in its distribution network, reflecting the challenge retailers and delivery services face in handling strong peak-season e-commerce demand.

“The week of Thanksgiving is an incredibly busy time for all of retail,” “With massive volume going through our system, there were some orders that took extra time, much like other major e-commerce sites,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Danit Marquardt said of the week of Thanksgiving.

“A vast majority of orders are shipping on time now,” she added.

The backlog reflects the degree to which Wal-Mart, United Parcel Service and other companies struggled to handle peak e-commerce volumes despite months of preparation and major investments to expand and upgrade distribution facilities.

Wal-Mart declined to comment on the number of customer orders impacted.

One senior FedEx employee said Wal-Mart’s national distribution network had fallen behind in processing some 4 million customer orders, though he declined to elaborate on how this impacted FedEx deliveries.

Adobe Analytics forecasts a record 107.4-billion-US-dollar holiday season for online orders, the first ever to cross the 100-billion-US-dollar mark, it said on Wednesday.

FedEx said it expected to deliver 380-400 million packages globally during the peak shipping season.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, offers free two-day shipping on millions of items when the order size is over 35 US dollars. The retailer said online sales surged 50 percent in the last quarter.