Anyone who's read Mark Friedman's recent Arkansas Business cover story on Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s online retail efforts won't be surprised by much in this report today by the Wall Street Journal.
But it does contain some new on-the-record comments by Neil Ashe, the retailer's president and CEO of Global e-Commerce, who recognizes the challenges Wal-Mart faces while rethinking its supply chain to meet the demands of the online shopper who wants unlimited supply and quick delivery. As the Journal story notes, this is a party Wal-Mart's admittedly a little late to, but determined to solve at any cost:
Neil Ashe, Wal-Mart's president of global e-commerce, says Wal-Mart has solved similar conundrums before—most notably in 2005, when it reinvented its supply chain after plunging into the fresh-grocery business. Groceries now account for 55% of the company's U.S. sales.
Still, he concedes the online problem is challenging. He recounts a conversation at a director's meeting held at the e-commerce headquarters in San Bruno in March, when he was asked how long it would take and much it would cost to build out the e-commerce operation.
"It will take the rest of our careers and as much as we've got," Mr. Ashe says he replied. "This isn't a project. It's about the future of the company."
Subscribers can read the full Wall Street Journal piece here. (Non-subscribers might be able to get backdoor access by Googling the article's headline, "Wal-Mart's E-Stumble with Amazon.") WSJ reporter Shelly Banjo summarizes her story in the video above.
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