The ecommerce boss Walmart hired to take on Amazon is leaving

Brahm Buck

The executive hired to help boost Walmart’s e-commerce business to compete with Amazon is leaving the company. © Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images Marc Lore, chief executive officer of Jet.com Inc., speaks during the Wall Street Journal D.Live global technology conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. […]

The executive hired to help boost Walmart’s e-commerce business to compete with Amazon is leaving the company.



Marc Lore wearing a suit and tie: Marc Lore, chief executive officer of Jet.com Inc., speaks during the Wall Street Journal D.Live global technology conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. WSJ D.Live conference brings together CEOs, founders, investors, and luminaries to discuss the global technology environment and how to move the industry forward. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images


© Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Marc Lore, chief executive officer of Jet.com Inc., speaks during the Wall Street Journal D.Live global technology conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. WSJ D.Live conference brings together CEOs, founders, investors, and luminaries to discuss the global technology environment and how to move the industry forward. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Marc Lore, who joined the company in 2016 after selling his online startup Jet.com to Walmart, is retiring at the end of January, the company announced Friday.

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Lore, the chief executive of Walmart’s US e-commerce arm, initially led the redesign of Walmart.com and helped expand Walmart’s online merchandise options from around 10 million items when he started to more than 80 million items, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in memo to employees Friday.

“We set out to sort of change the external-internal narrative that Walmart e-commerce could be a formidable competitor and player in the e-commerce space,” Lore said in an interview with CNN Business. “I think we’ve done that.”

Walmart’s stock was down 1% midday Friday.

Lore is leaving shortly after the company merged its once separate online division into its larger business. After Lore retires on January 31, the online business will report to Walmart’s US chief John Furner, the company said in a filing.

“With our structural changes behind us, we have concluded it’s time for Marc to transition out of his everyday role at Walmart,” McMillon said in the memo.

Lore will remain a strategic adviser to Walmart through September.

As for retirement plans, Lore said he would spend time writing a book, working on a reality TV show, advising startups, joining public boards, doing philanthropy work and possibly buying a sports team. But his biggest “passion project” in the coming decades, he said, will be trying to build a “city of the future” starting from scratch in the United States.

“It’s kind of early to really start talking about it in too much detail, but I kind of had this vision for sort of a new model for society,” he said. “It’s not going to be something crazy like out of the Jetsons. It’ll be like a city that you love in America — pick any city — that’s basically more evolved, utilizing technology, more efficient, more environmental, safer, more parks.”

He added: “It’ll just be more modernized version of the city, but it’ll still have density. It’ll still have the diversity [which] is really important. And so if we do it right, it should offer a higher quality of life.”

Walmart bought up online brands such as Bonobos, Eloquii, ModCloth, Moosejaw, Bare Necessities and Shoes.com under Lore’s tenure as it sought to grow online and reach younger shoppers. However, it said it was discontinuing Jet.com in 2019, and also sold off ModCloth, Bare Necessities and Shoes.com.

Lore said the acquisitions were not a failure because they helped speed up Walmart’s online transformation and attracted new tech talent.

“Not everything’s gonna work out exactly as you as you planned it,” he said.

Walmart’s online business, while still much smaller than Amazon’s, has grown rapidly in recent years. Walmart said in November that it offers curbside pickup from 3,700 stores and home delivery from 2,700.

“Lore can leave Walmart and effectively declare victory,” said Andrew Lipsman, retail analyst at eMarketer. “He’s had a tremendously successful run, helping drive huge growth in sales and market share in Walmart’s previously laggard e-commerce business.”

–Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the last name of Walmart executive John Furner.

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