Walmart shares rise, grocer agrees new eCommerce JV with Japan’s Rakuten

on Jan 26, 2018

Walmart shares closed higher in the US Thursday, as one of the world’s largest grocers unveiled it had agreed a new online grocery delivery deal with Japan’s Rakuten. The tie-up will see customers place an order through a new joint venture site, which is then fulfilled in partnership.

Walmart shares ended the US Thursday trading session 0.74% higher at $106.60. In after-hours trade, Walmart shares are in the red. Rakuten shares closed 4.53% higher at JPY1,020.

Walmart makes improvements

Walmart already has an online grocery delivery operation in Japan. However, this new deal with Rakuten will replace it.

Rakuten and Walmart subsidiary Seiyu GK, will launch a new online grocery ordering business called Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper. It is expected to go live in the second half of 2018.

Each company will draw on the other’s strengths to better fulfil Japan’s delivery needs. A dedicated Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper fulfilment centre will also be created.

“Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we’re excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan,” said Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon, in a statement.

“Here in Japan and everywhere we operate, we’re constantly exploring new ways to make every day easier for customers by offering great experiences in stores, online, via mobile—no matter how customers want to shop,” McMillon said.

“We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of eBooks and audiobooks for our customers in the US,” he added.

Walmart to sell Kobo eBooks

As well as customers using Rakuten’s system to make online grocery orders, Walmart will begin selling Kobo eReaders, eBooks and audiobooks through its stores.

Kobo is a Rakuten subsidiary.

“As global leaders in e-commerce and offline shopping, Rakuten and Walmart are uniquely positioned to empower our customers around the world with innovative services,” said Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi Mikitani.

“We are excited to partner with Walmart because of its commitment to creating the best solutions to serve customers with low prices,” Mikitani added.