USA: New Wal-Mart.com chief says still ways to go
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, is not yet getting its share of the booming e-commerce market, the new head of the chain's online retail venture said on Friday. Jeanne Jackson, named in March as chief executive officer of Wal-Mart.com, told Wal-Mart shareholders her vision for grabbing a bigger share of the Internet consumer market included selling everyday items from car tires to birthday cakes.Jackson said total e-commerce sales by all vendors topped $20 billion and were expected to grow to over $184 billion by 2004.Analysts have said Wal-Mart's e-commerce business, based in Palo-Alto, Calif., is expected to be a strong growth vehicle.Jackson, who was hired from retailer Gap Inc's (NYSE:GPS) Banana Republic and online divisions, was short on specifics about the functions of the new Web site.But she talked about visions including ordering books, prescription medicines and even birthday cakes through Wal-Mart.com from the comfort of bed.She said consumers should also be able purchase car tires on the site with easy-to-read fitting help online and then book a date to drive to a Wal-Mart store for installation."We're just imagining here, but we're allowed to imagine possibilities," Jackson said. "These are the visions I'm dreaming about." As of April 30, Wal-Mart had 1,784 Wal-Mart discount stores, 753 Supercenters and 465 Sam's Clubs warehouse stores in the United States. It also has stores in South America, Canada, China, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the UK.
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