business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Walmart said yesterday that it is making its Walmart Pay mobile payments solution available to customers at 110 of its stores in Arkansas, saying that the introduction makes it "the only retailer to offer its own payment solution that works with any iOS or Android device, at any checkout lane, and with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift card – all through the Walmart mobile app."

Walmart says that the mobile payments solution is imbedded in its Walmart app, and that "more than twenty million customers actively use the Walmart app each month and it ranks among the top three retail apps in the Google and Apple app stores. The Walmart app enhances the shopping experience in Walmart stores with features including checking in to pick up an online order at a Walmart store, refilling pharmacy prescriptions and finding an item’s store location."

• Walmart yesterday announced the signing of an agreement with McKesson Corp. that will have the two companies collaborating "on sourcing generic pharmaceuticals for their respective U.S. operations," which they said would add "scale and value for both companies." The companies said that the new agreement "leverages McKesson’s demonstrated strength and expertise in the global pharmaceutical industry and Walmart’s proven commitment to delivering leading health and wellness services at an everyday low price to its customers."

The announcement quotes George Riedl, senior vice president and president, Health and Wellness, Walmart U.S., as saying that “Walmart and McKesson have built a strong business relationship over the past 30 years by working together to help lower the cost of health care. The dynamics of health care continue to change, and we’re changing with it. It’s why we are taking our relationship with McKesson to the next level, using our combined size and scale to drive efficiencies, something that is core to our business."

Reuters notes that "Wal-Mart, which has been sourcing generics with McKesson for several years, has been looking to strengthen its health-related business as well as cut costs in its pharmacy operations, which emerged as a significant drag on earnings last year."
KC's View: