Bao Nguyen

Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail.

The merging of retail and technology has led to the two sides poaching each other's talent. This commonly leads to companies gobbling up entire startups, as was demonstrated yesterday by Wal-Mart's tech team, @WalmartLabs, acquiring Luvocracy, a three-year-old firm and an online community of half-a-million members that allows consumers to discover and buy products recommended by other people, from their own friends and family to bloggers and other influencers. Sixteen Luvocracy employees are slated to join @WalmartLabs as part of the acquisition. Company spokesman Bao Nguyen told MarketWatch that Wal-Mart doesn't plan to integrate Luvocracy's technology into Walmart.com.

Wal-Mart's global e-commerce unit intends to hire hundreds of tech workers in a big expansion of its operations in Sunnyvale, Calif. "We're planning to expand to about 1,000 employees in Sunnyvale," said Bao Nguyen, a spokesman with Wal-Mart global e-commerce, whose operations are headquartered in San Bruno, Calif. At present, the e-commerce unit has about 550 employees in Sunnyvale.

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