Can Walmart.com Survive Without Marc Lore—And Will it Have to?
Even taking the company’s Q4 e-commerce slowdown into account, there’s no doubt that Walmart’s online business got a shot in the arm with its Jet.com acquisition in 2016.
The big-box retailer has been on a quest to change its perception from a physical store chain of today to a digital retailer fit for tomorrow. And the gains it’s made toward that goal are largely due to Marc Lore, who headed up Jet and now spearheads Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce business.
So, talk that he could be antsy in Bentonville is big news.
The New York Post reported Wednesday that their sources say Lore isn’t likely to be a lifer at Walmart. While that speculation makes a good headline, the evidence that it’s the case—and could prompt a departure anytime soon—seems pretty thin at this point.
The Post noted that the e-commerce CEO wasn’t mentioned in the company’s earnings call this week when it announced that online sales, which had zoomed up by 50 percent during the third quarter, hit a major speed bump, slowing growth to just 23 percent at the end of the year. That however, isn’t actually news since Lore didn’t garner direct accolades during the Q3 call when those sales were at their peak.
The announcement that marketing funds would be funneled more toward Walmart than Jet, effectively ensuring growth for that business will falter, is said to be another reason why the exec might be feeling like it’s time to go.
The final piece of the puzzle, according to the publication, is the exit of Liza Landsman, Jet’s former president, last month, proving, it said, that team is a poor fit for the Walmart culture.
“I’m not convinced that Marc Lore and the other members of Jet.com leadership team are truly in it for the long haul,” Brittain Ladd, a digital consultant and former Amazon executive, told the paper. “Their skill and ambition will more than likely take them elsewhere.”
The question that remains, if The Post’s sources are correct and Lore, who has a five-year incentive package with Walmart, leaves, is whether the company learned enough under his direction to continue its push into e-commerce—and Amazon territory.