After 47 years known as Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest company said on Wednesday that it is dropping “Stores” from its name in a nod to how much important e-commerce is to the business as it continues to compete with Amazon.com (amzn). The change goes into effect on February 1st.
While Wal-Mart Stores as a corporate legal name is rarely used in public-facing materials or in stores themselves, CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement that he felt the name change was needed to be “consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer.” He added: “Our customers know us as Walmart and today they shop with us not only in our stores but online and with our app as well.”
Walmart doesn’t break out how much of its corporate revenues come online. (They are believed to be around 4% or 5% of sales worldwide.) But they are increasingly a point of focus for the company. In the United States, where e-commerce entrepreneur Marc Lore has been heading Walmart.com, digital sales rose 50% last quarter. That surge has been the result of moves such as buying Jet.com (which Lore sold to the company in 2016 before becoming Walmart.com CEO), expanding its marketplaces, further integrating stores and e-commerce, improving its mobile shopping app, and equipping more stores as pick-up points for online grocery orders.
Wal-Mart Stores, whose shares lately have been trading near all-time highs, will continue to trade under the stock ticker “WMT” on the New York Stock Exchange.
While Walmart was founded in 1962, its formal legal name when it incorporated in 1969 was Wal-Mart, Inc before becoming Wal-Mart Stores a few months later. The company is best known for its namesake chain, but it also operates chains such as Sam’s Club in the U.S. as well as Walmart, Sam’s and other banners in other countries.
The name change is not the only move by McMillon of late to update the company. In September, he announced the company would build new headquarters in its hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.