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Walmart is trying cashierless again

Walmart aisles
Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images

In May, Walmart put the kibosh on cashierless shopping — it said that its customers aren't so interested in possibly faster checkout without human help. But this week, it's started trying again.

What's going on: In Dallas, Walmart's Sam’s Club launched "Now," a cashierless store half the size of a normal Sam’s Club. It will be a testing ground that will include augmented reality and mobile checkout.

The opening comes 10 months after Amazon opened Go, a cashierless store in Seattle, arguably setting Walmart behind the latest big trend in retail. But in a report today on its third-quarter earnings, Walmart reported a solid 43% jump in e-commerce sales, suggesting that the company may simply be following a differing path.

  • The surging online growth has been fueled by the acquisition of Jet.com, an e-commerce startup. "Ever since the Jet.com acquisition in 2016, their overall growth in 2017 and year-to-date growth in 2018 has been stronger than it was before the acquisition," Sucharita Kodali, research analyst at Forrester, tells Axios.
  • In a note to clients, Moody's Lead Retail Analyst Charlie O'Shea said, “The leveraging of its massive store network as a key driver of its prodigious online growth on a sizable base continues at a rapid clip, with its grocery business leading this charge. And we expect the expansion of food pickup to continue to resonate with consumers for the foreseeable future, producing further market share gains in this key category.”
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