Aug 05, 2016

    Wal-Mart in talks to buy rival as part of online revamp

    WAL-MART Stores is in talks to buy, a year-old online rival, as part of a multi-billion-dollar revamp of its e-commerce division aimed at boosting online sales growth, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

    The world's largest retailer is playing catch-up with on distribution and technology.

    For the past five years, Wal-Mart has been on an acquisition spree, buying 15 start-ups in an attempt to bring in the talent and technology to drive e-commerce growth.

    It acquired a majority stake in Chinese e-commerce firm Yihaodian in 2012 but sold it in June to, which is China's second-largest e-commerce company.

    Despite its investments, Wal-Mart has not projected when its online business might turn a profit.

    Its goal of growing by 20 to 30 per cent a year may be tough to achieve.

    Its online business has struggled and posted its slowest growth in a year in the latest quarter.

    Wal-Mart said recently that all the changes brought on by the e-commerce reboot, including installing a new technology platform and building new warehouses, contributed to its recent slowdown in growth.

    A July 2015 survey by consulting firm Kantar Retail showed the extent to which Amazon had eaten into Wal-Mart's customer base.

    The survey found that 48 per cent of shoppers at Wal-Mart Supercenters were placing orders weekly or monthly on, double the percentage shopping at that frequency on Wal-Mart's own site.