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Walmart targets e-commerce with new investment arm

Walmart has been on an e-commerce shopping spree in recent months, acquiring the likes of Jet.com, ShoeBuy, Moosejaw, Hayneedle and most recently ModCloth, in an attempt to boost its online business.

Now the world’s largest retailer has partnered with retail startups, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to create an investment arm to further expand its e-commerce footprint.

Marc Lore, Walmart’s e-commerce chief, who previously co-founded and ran Jet.com, will lead the initiative, called Store No. 8.

Lore said at Shoptalk, a retail conference in New York, that the program will be based in Silicon Valley and involve startups that specialise in robotics, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Reuters interviewed Walmart’s senior vice president of incubation and strategic partnerships Seth Beal, who said the retailer will keep the startups separate from the broader organisation, so they will not affect the bottom line in the near term.

Beal declined to give a timeframe for the launch.

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