Sam Walton

As Wal-Mart prepares to anoint the fifth chief executive in its history, the world's largest retailer is grappling with challenges founder Sam Walton never faced. Wal-Mart's board has identified international chief Doug McMillon, 46, and Bill Simon, 53, who runs the U.S. operations, as leading candidates to succeed Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke, according to a person familiar with the situation. While Duke, 63, isn't expected to step down immediately, Wal-Mart may

Just like in brick-and-mortar sales, the final purchase is where the rubber meets the road in digital sales. However, a lot of heavy lifting needs to happen in customer engagement and selling before that final purchase. When smart, effective and consistent, this engagement quickly results in a purchase transaction and fulfillment follows. While most online retailers have been paying some attention to the transactional part of the purchase, such as shopping cart and payment processing (although we see some gaps here as well), they could do far better in the up-front engaging and selling that enable the sale.

/PRNewswire/ -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced that its board of directors has appointed Timothy P. Flynn, retired chairman of KPMG International, as a new member of the company's board, effective immediately. Flynn became the seventeenth member of the board and will also serve as a member of the company's audit committee. (Logo: "Throughout his career, Tim has demonstrated a level of professionalism and personal integrity that is synonymous with our values at Walmart," said Walmart Chairman Rob Walton. "He's a talented leader whose global insights, strategic vision and expertise in business strategy and governance will

In its struggle against surging online retailers such as, Wal-Mart has unleashed a weapon long shunned by Sam Walton: lobbying. On July 24, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a bill to let states collect sales tax from out-of-state merchants that sell to their residents. If passed, online retailers, which now mostly don't collect sales tax, will lose a price advantage that's helped them take business from brick-and-mortar stores.

It seems impossible to believe now, but Sam Walton once had Kmart envy. The legendary founder of what's now earth's largest retailer was so envious of his competitor that he would tour its stores, openly gushing. 

Wal-Mart certainly has taken a step back from its heritage with the revelation that it's removing greeters from the graveyard shifts at its U.S. supercenters, in the first reversal of a 30-year-old tradition that helped define what the folksy chain was all about in its early years.

More Blogs