retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Marc Lore, who sold one e-commerce business to Amazon for $545 million and then sold another to Walmart for $3.3 billion, helping to make the world's largest retailer into a legitimate online competitor to Amazon, announced this morning that he is retiring.

He tells Recode that "his next big entrepreneurial swing will be something far afield from his current expertise: a multi-decade project to build 'a city of the future' supported by 'a reformed version of capitalism … It’s a new model for society we’ll be testing."

Lore isn't offering much detail about his new venture, except to say, "Imagine a city with the vibrancy, diversity and culture of New York City combined with the efficiency, safety and innovation of Tokyo and the sustainability, governance, and social services of Sweden … This will be our New City"

“This is going to be a lifelong project,” he says. “It’s the thing I’m most passionate about.”

Lore's first big e-commerce venture was Quidsi, which was best known for Diapers.comm which he sold to Amazon.  After a period of time working for Amazon and then serving out a non-compete period, he created Jet.comm, which he sold to Walmart, becoming that company's president/CEO of US e-commerce.

In recent months, Jet's branding has been folded into Walmart's, and speculation was that he would leave the company.

KC's View:

No surprise here … except that I would've figured that Lore would just ride out another non-compete clause, create something new, and then sell it to Alibaba or Target for $6 billion.

I love audacious goals, so I'm dying to see what Lore comes up with.  (He might want to consult with Google, which just wanted to create a neighborhood of the future in Toronto and couldn't make that happen because of political landmines.)

I once wrote that the difference between Jeff Bezos and Marc Lore was that Jeff Bezos was  Jeff Bezos, and Marc Lore just wanted to be Jeff Bezos.  That may not have been entirely fair, and it occurs to me that while Bezos sees the future in space, Lore may be after something a little closer to home.

Good for him.  Though it remains possible that he'll create the model of the city of the future and then will sell it to New York or Los Angeles.  Probably for $6 billion.