Former Walmart Exec Claims Retailer Has Been Inflating E-Commerce Numbers
A new lawsuit from Tri Huynh, a former Walmart business development executive, claims that the retailer is inflating its e-commerce sales numbers in the race to close the gap between itself and its chief rival, Amazon.com. The suit, filed this week in Northern California federal court, alleges that Walmart has been lowering its standards to boost the size of its online catalog; miscategorizing some items listed for sale, which can result in overcharging some merchants who sell through Walmart.com; and failing to process $7 million in returned items. Huynh says that he was terminated from his job in 2017 as retaliation for being a whistleblower by repeatedly bringing his concerns to e-commerce division leaders, and is suing for unspecified damages.
Total Retail's Take: Is this a disgruntled former employee trying to exact some type of revenge against Walmart, or is Huynh telling the truth? That's for the courts to decide, but what's been reported is that Walmart is making serious inroads in growing its digital business. The traditional brick-and-mortar retailer has invested significant resources to grow its e-commerce business, most notably through the acquisition of several digital-native brands, to take market share from Amazon. I don't think there's much doubt that there's been growth in e-commerce sales at Walmart, the extent of that growth is now being called into question.