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Total Retail features coverage of a session at the ShopTalk conference last week at which Marc Lore, founder of Jet.com and now president and CEO, Wal-Mart E-Commerce U.S., discussed why he'd sold his company to Walmart.

"“As a startup, you’re selling pieces of the business along the way to venture capitalists," he said. "Did you sell the vision that you sold to your customers and employees? Wal-Mart accelerated the vision to reach our goals for customers and employees. Wal-Mart offered us the capital to do that. It ended up being a no-brainer.”

In addition, Lore expressed enthusiasm for Walmart's core cultural values, and for the company's willingness to change the way it does business to adapt to online realities.

“It’s incredibly challenging for a legacy retailer to hand over the keys to a startup” he said. “You need executive buy-in. Doug McMillon was a benefactor from the beginning. It [acquiring Jet] was a risky, bold move at the time, but it’s working out well so far. I’m hoping to continue to prove Doug and the board correct.”

And, Lore added, "“Doug and the exec team have delivered on their promises. I’ve been so impressed with the values of the company. It operates with the highest integrity. I’ve been completely converted on the value system having been in the door.”
KC's View:
There is no question that Walmart is allowing Marc Lore to take the company outside its traditional comfort zone, not just in terms of e-commerce but also in terms of acquiring companies with a somewhat more aspirational approach to retailing than Walmart generally has taken. But I am persuaded that the only way to succeed these days is to to that - go beyond traditional comfort zones to find new ways to be relevant to shoppers.