By Sarah Nassauer 

Marc Lore, the e-commerce entrepreneur who ran Walmart Inc.'s counter attack against Amazon.com Inc., is leaving the retail giant after much of the online operations had been absorbed into the rest of its business.

Mr. Lore, who founded Jet.com and joined Walmart in 2016 after it bought his startup, pushed the bricks-and-mortar giant to increase its online offerings, including adding more web inventory and distribution centers.

But in recent years many of his areas of oversight had been combined into Walmart's store operations. Walmart shut down Jet.com to focus on Walmart.com, and its e-commerce executives and teams reported to the head of Walmart's U.S. stores.

Walmart said Mr. Lore, its U.S. e-commerce chief, will retire on Jan. 31 and stay as a consultant through September. The company said it unified its U.S. store and e-commerce operations in 2020. Following Mr. Lore's exit, the business will continue to report to John Furner, the company's U.S. chief executive.

"I think we had a five-year plan on what we wanted to accomplish and I think we largely did exactly what we set out to do," said Mr. Lore in an interview. "The hope was that by that time we would converge the e-commerce stores and stores into one omni organization and we would have one leader."

Mr. Lore said the high-level goal for his time at the company was "to change the internal and external narrative about Walmart, e-commerce, Walmart as a tech company."

Casey Carl, an executive Walmart hired last September, will take over leadership of the e-commerce and digital responsibilities, under Mr. Furner, Mr. Lore said in an interview. When Jet was acquired, Mr. Lore received a compensation package that fully vested after five years at Walmart.

E-commerce sales have risen during Mr. Lore's time at the company, though in recent years online sales growth has been driven by online grocery sales from stores. The company's stock has moved higher, as more investors see the company as a sturdier competitor to Amazon.

Many of Mr. Lore's key initiatives at the company were dismantled in recent years, deemed too unprofitable or tangential to Walmart's core business. In recent years Walmart has sold or shrunk several small e-commerce startups it purchased, including Bonobos and ModCloth. Jetblack, an unprofitable personal shopping service that let hundreds of paying members order items for delivery by text, shut last year.

E-commerce has become an integral part of Walmart's U.S. business during the pandemic, when its stores stayed open and enjoyed a surge in demand for household goods and groceries. The company has focused on online grocery, adding more third-party merchants to its website and rolling out services that let customers pickup orders at its supersize stores. It also recently rolled out a subscription service that resembles Amazon's Prime delivery service.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 15, 2021 10:50 ET (15:50 GMT)

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