Walmart.com to expand, offer products from other retailers
LITTLE ROCK - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has expanded its online site to include outside retailers selling nearly 1 million new items, a move that could help the world’s largest retailer catch up in the online world.
The Walmart Marketplace at Walmart.com offers such categories as home, baby, toys, apparel, sporting goods, and sports memorabilia. The company said it picked the retailers - including eBags, CSN Stores, and Pro Team - because they have large product assortments and solid customer service track records.
Retail consultant Burt Flickinger III said Wal-Mart can turn online sales into an area of growth, especially considering how the company’s stores have saturated much of the US market. He said Wal-Mart can also draw online customers from Europe and South Korea, where it no longer has stores.
“This gives Wal-Mart a chance to close the widening gap with Amazon.com and Apple,’’ Flickinger said.
Apple has knocked off Wal-Mart as the top music seller, and Amazon has posted healthy sales gains, though its second-quarter earnings in July came in below expectations. In its second quarter, Wal-Mart posted its first drop in sales at stores open at least a year, indicating a need to find new growth areas.
“Online is one key growth frontier Wal-Mart has yet to conquer,’’ Flickinger said. Bringing in established firms is faster than developing such an addition itself, he said.