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Walmart decides to close down its Store No. 8 incubator due to unknown reasons

Walmart Store No. 8
Walmart Store No. 8

We will start this report with a bit of a back story to understand the gravity of decision by Walmart to close one of the key part of its business which is closing down Store No. 8 which was an incubator for “new technology”. So “Walmart paid $3.3 billion in 2016 to buy Jet.com, a fledgling digital retailer that had spent a lot of money, but not generated much in the way of sales. It was a curious move at the time, and many Walmart executives were against the move, but CEO Doug McMillon understood how far his chain had fallen behind Amazon. The purchase was not about owning and operating Jet.com as Walmart shut the company down about three years later. Instead, you could argue that Walmart paid all that money in order to hire serial entrepreneur Marc Lore. The genius behind Diapers.com, which Amazon purchased from him, Lore understood the digital future in a way that Walmart executives simply did not.

Lore, who served as CEO of Walmart’s e-commerce business, launched Store No. 8, a special location designed to be an incubator of new technology. And, while you may not think of Walmart as an innovative chain, it has actually been a pioneer in same-day delivery and buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) which are huge innovations. When Store No. 8 opened in 2017, Lore shared that it would help build “startups that have a responsibility to change the course of retail,” not just in the immediate future but five and 10 years down the road

Now, it is reported that “Walmart has decided to close Store No. 8 and split its previous tasks between the rest of the chain. There does not appear to be a specific person in charge of innovation at the chain which was famously resistant to digitally-driven changes before Lore arrived. Lore, and the the top executives he brought with them have largely moved on from Walmart. Store No. 8 took a people-driven approach to creating new technology. “Innovation begins with people. It’s not only our technology that shapes the future of commerce, but it’s also the brilliant people who build it,” the store shares on its website.