Reflecting its growing status as an omni-channel retailer Walmart has revealed plans to change the company’s legal name from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to Walmart Inc. effective Feb. 1. According to the company, the name change chiefly demonstrates its growing emphasis on “serving customers seamlessly however they want to shop: in stores, online, on their mobile device, or through pickup and delivery.”
“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,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. “While our legal name is used in a limited number of places, we felt it was best to have a name that was consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer. Looking ahead, we’ll continue to invest in and strengthen our stores around the world and expand our e-commerce capabilities as we help save customers’ time and money. As time goes on, customers will increasingly just think of and see one Walmart.”
Walmart operates under nearly 60 different banners around the world, including e-commerce sites, and has more than 11,600 stores and clubs in 28 countries. The company opened its first international location in Mexico City in 1991 and launched Walmart.com in 2000. Walmart will continue to trade on the NYSE as WMT.
Walmart’s formal legal name when it incorporated on Oct. 31, 1969, was Wal-Mart Inc. It was changed to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., on Jan. 9, 1970, and has remained in place the past 47 years since Walmart went public that same year. The company has been using the current Walmart logo in its operations since June 2008.
McMillon wrote a blog post for Walmart’s website addressing the change. Read it in full below:
We’re Updating Our Legal Name to Reflect How Customers Want to Shop – Here’s Why
Today we announced that we are changing our name from Wal-Mart Stores to Walmart. Why the change? Because of our growing presence as a retailer who serves customers no matter how they choose to shop.
Most of us, and I’d guess all our customers, refer to our company as Walmart and still will. Changing our corporate name from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to Walmart Inc. is just a symbol of how customers are shopping us today and how they’ll increasingly shop us in the future. Whether it’s in our stores, on our sites, with our apps, by using their voice or whatever comes next, there is just one Walmart as far as our customers are concerned. When they shop with us, they expect it to be an easy and seamless experience.
Changing our corporate name to Walmart is a way of better reflecting our company’s path to win the future of retail. It’s also a bit about returning to the company’s roots. You might be surprised to learn that, when Sam Walton opened the first store in 1962, the name on the front of the building was simply, “Walmart.” A few years later, we incorporated as Wal-Mart, Inc., and amended the name to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., when we went public in 1970.
For our associates, while our new legal name removes the dash, we’re not planning to change the Walmart cheer. Getting our blood flowing and choosing not to take ourselves too seriously is still part of our culture. It’s important to have some fun at work, so for our associates in countries where your cheer calls for the squiggly, keep doing it!
We began with great stores and steadily expanded to include clubs and distribution centers. In 1991, we became a global retailer when we opened our first international location in Mexico City, and we launched Walmart.com in 2000. Today we operate under almost 60 different banners around the world, including eCommerce sites, and have more than 11,600 stores and clubs in 28 countries.
Now, we are focused on strengthening stores and clubs around the world to make sure customers continue to have a great experience every time they walk through the door. At the same time, we’re also building our eCommerce and digital capabilities, and we’re putting them together in a way that makes every day easier for busy families. Sam Walton said, “To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.” He wouldn’t have known that customers in the future would shop on their smart phones or with their voices, but he did know that retail would continue to change. He taught us that, and that for a company to succeed, it has to be agile and innovative.
Even though our corporate name has changed, what won’t change is that Walmart will be there for customers—saving them money and time and helping make every day just a little bit easier.