After years of trying to grow its e-commerce presence in Brazil, Walmart announced it will be closing its e-commerce operation to focus on expanding brick-and-mortar locations throughout Latin America’s largest retail market, according to Reuters.
Deciding to close its e-commerce operations resulted in the layoffs of 70 of the company’s 90 employees. As Brazil continues to recover from a tough recession, brick-and-mortar retail has become increasingly popular, while Walmart struggled against tough competition from local e-commerce businesses, Reuters reported. There is some speculation that Walmart’s decision to close its e-commerce division could give competitors a boost.
“Walmart launched an e-commerce division in Brazil in 2011, selling directly to consumers. But by 2017, the retailer discontinued direct sales, focusing only on running as a marketplace for third-party sellers, which it had launched in 2015.
“Walmart never disclosed how much online sales contributed to its top line in Brazil. In mid-2018, buyout firm Advent International acquired an 80-percent stake in the Brazilian operation, unfolding a broad revamp. By then, the e-commerce division was already in decline,” Reuters said.