Report: Wal-Mart to Hire 'Hundreds' for Digital Ops Expansion

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville is about to invest even more in its Sunnyvale, Calif., e-commerce operations, according to a report today by the Oakland Tribune:

Walmart's Global eCommerce unit intends to hire hundreds of tech workers in a big expansion of its operations in Sunnyvale.

The retail giant's eCommerce unit has struck a deal to lease about 107,000 square feet on West California Avenue near the corner of Central Expressway and Mathilda Avenue.

"We are planning to expand to about 1,000 employees in Sunnyvale," said Bao Nguyen, a spokesman with Walmart Global eCommerce, whose operations are headquartered in San Bruno.

The move is no surprise given Wal-Mart's growing focus on online sales and its battle with Amazon. The retailer, which has seen U.S. same-store sales stagnate, has been able to point to some successes already, including this report by MultiChannel Merchant that says Wal-Mart's e-commerce sales rose in the first quarter at a faster clip than Amazon's.

And of course e-commerce is a key component of Wal-Mart's experiments with the current holy grail of retailing: same-day delivery. Arkansas Business' Mark Friedman notes that Wal-Mart is taking customers' demands for the service seriously, expanding pilot programs to select U.S. cities:

Wal-Mart started its program in 2011 in San Francisco and San Jose, California. In October it added Denver to the test program. In January Wal-Mart also began offering Denver customers the option of picking up their online orders at a Walmart store without leaving their cars, said Ravi Jariwala, a spokesman for Wal-Mart.

“As a retailer we recognize that customer behavior is shifting,” he said.

Customers aren’t concerned about where they place the order or how they receive the items, Jariwala said. “They just want to be able to shop and get what they want and get it at a great price. And that’s what we’re committed to,” he said.

You can read Friedman's complete cover story here.