By Sarah Nassauer
Marc Lore, the e-commerce entrepreneur who ran Walmart Inc.'s
counterattack 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. When Jet was acquired, Mr. Lore
received a restricted stock award, initially worth about $250
million, 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 purchase of Jet.com and the presence of Mr. Lore, a serial
entrepreneur who didn't flinch at building unprofitable businesses
to compete, ran counter to Walmart's longstanding culture of
pinching pennies to boost profits. The move, driven mainly by
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, lifted the standing of e-commerce inside
the company and caused tension with some store-based
"Marc's expertise and aggressiveness have been game-changing,"
said Mr. McMillon in an email to staff Friday. He said that Mr.
Lore led the redesign of Walmart.com, and during his time in the
role the company added tens of millions of items for sale online
and sped delivery times.
The company's stock has moved higher, as more investors see the
company as a sturdier competitor to Amazon. Walmart shares have
more than doubled over the last five years and are trading near
all-time highs. However, Amazon shares have surged 445% over the
same period, giving it a market value of roughly $1.5 trillion
versus Walmart's roughly $400 billion.
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.
Mr. Lore said he felt some acquisitions helped Walmart add
assortment to its own website and were successful. "The one area
that's fair to criticize is the strategy of building digitally
native brands," said Mr. Lore, such as Bonobos, though he believes
the company learned through the process.
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 pick up orders at its supersize stores. It also recently
rolled out a subscription service that resembles Amazon's Prime
When Walmart bought Jet in 2016, it was a highflying startup
that raised over $500 million from investors. Before the
acquisition, Jet predicted it would burn through hundreds of
millions of dollars, much of that on marketing to build its shopper
base. Mr. Lore won over investors in part because of his success
running Diapers.com parent Quidsi Inc., which was sold to Amazon
for about $550 million in 2010.
Mr. Lore, 49 years old, said he would return to entrepreneurial
pursuits after he leaves, including working to build a "city of the
future," he said. He imagines the city as a sustainable community,
socially and environmentally, according to people familiar with his
"I'm writing a book. I'm creating a reality TV show. I'm going
to probably buy a sports team. I'm going to continue to mentor
female founders," he said. The book is about entrepreneurship, said
a spokesman. Mr. Lore declined to give details of his TV and
Mr. Lore bid to buy the New York Mets in partnership with former
baseball player Alex Rodriguez and singer Jennifer Lopez last year,
he said, but the group came in second. The Mets reached a deal in
2020 with hedge-fund manager Stephen A. Cohen.
Write to Sarah Nassauer at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 15, 2021 13:15 ET (18:15 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.