With 2 Cyber-Savvy Execs Leading the Charge, Walmart Is Finding New Ways to Be Nimble

Thinking like a startup has brought results for the retail giant

Walmart tapped Barbara Messing and Andy Dunn this year and last, respectively, to lead its transformation. Meredith Mashburn

Despite its standing as the world’s biggest retailer—more than 11,000 stores and over 100 million unique web visitors per month—Walmart views itself as a scrappy challenger in the ecommerce space dominated by titans like Alibaba and Amazon. In recent years, the company has undergone an ambitious transformation as it expands in the digital realm, tapping cyber-savvy executives Andy Dunn and Barbara Messing to help lead the way.

Dunn joined Walmart in June 2017, after the company’s $310 million purchase of men’s apparel brand Bonobos, which he founded a decade earlier and led as CEO. Now, leading Walmart’s digital brands, Dunn drives a whirlwind of activity. A flurry of acquisitions—including fashion players Eloquii and ModCloth, along with in-house launches such as mattress and bedding startup Allswell—have boosted Walmart’s digital cachet, with its online sales expected to grow 40 percent this year. Overall, Walmart generated FY 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion.

This story first appeared in the November 26, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.