WAL-MART ‘SPENDS HARD’ TO RI­VAL AMA­ZON

Firm buy­ing up smaller on­line re­tail­ers to grab big­ger mar­ket share

New Straits Times - - Business -

NEW YORK

WAL-MART Stores, the 800-pound go­rilla of re­tail, is run­ning hard to catch up in an in­creas­ingly cru­cial seg­ment where it is nei­ther the big­gest nor the best: e-com­merce.

The com­pany has been gob­bling up smaller and niche play­ers in e-com­merce in an ef­fort to reach on­line shop­ping mar­ket leader Ama­zon.

Whether those ef­forts are pay­ing off will be a fo­cal point when Wal-Mart Stores re­ports quar­terly earn­ings on Thurs­day.

A bit more than half of all funds spent on­line in the United States now goes to Ama­zon, ac­cord­ing to the bank Mac­quarie.

Part of Ama­zon’s suc­cess stems from its breadth of of­fer­ings, which in­cludes the Kin­dle that peo­ple use for read­ing and the Prime ser­vice that broad­casts pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion shows, said Krista Fabre­gas, e-com­merce staff writer at FitS­mal­lBusi­ness.com.

“It’s be­cause Ama­zon has been do­ing such a great job at in­ject­ing it­self into our ev­ery­day life,” she said.

Wal-Mart has been do­ing some shop­ping of its own, in an ef­fort to make up ground against Ama­zon.

It spent US$3.3 bil­lion last year to buy Jet.com, which was started by e-com­merce en­tre­pre­neur Marc Lore.

In less than five months, Lore has di­rected Wal-Mart to a num­ber of ac­qui­si­tions, in­clud­ing Shoe­buy.com (US$70 mil­lion), ModCloth (US$45 mil­lion) and MooseJaw (US$51 mil­lion).

Wal-Mart is also in talks to ac­quire the menswear chain Bono­bos for US$300 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a source. AFP

BLOOMBERG PIC

Wal-Mart’s ob­jec­tive is to be­come a go-to place on­line for ‘es­sen­tial’ prod­ucts, such as toi­let paper, beauty prod­ucts, gro­ceries and hol­i­day gifts and chil­dren’s toys.

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