The Wall Street Journal has an extensive interview with John Furner, CEO of Walmart US. Excerpts:
• Re: the shift to online shopping … "It would be hard to say exactly how long any of these changes last, although I believe many of them will be permanent. We had some periods in the quarter when we saw as much as 300% growth rates with the [online grocery] pickup business. We slowed our pickup business while we focused on replenishing and restocking stores, then we quickly added back pickup slots. We’re at the highest slot level we’ve ever been, and we are still looking for more ways to innovate to either add more stores or more slots per store."
• Re: competing with Amazon Prime … "One of the advantages Walmart has is the store footprint, and layered on the footprint is the ability for shoppers to come in, buy off the shelf, pick up or have things delivered. Customers will continue to come back and return to shop either online or in-store as long as we deliver. It’s really the nature of being an omnichannel retailer that has helped Walmart in the last few months."
• Re: Walmart+, which is designed to offer Amazon Prime-style advantages … "It’s on the road map, for sure. We’re not quite there yet. In the last couple of months, the acceleration of change from our customers is the fastest I’ve seen it in the U.S. It’s important we continue to build for the future. Walmart+ would be a part of that."