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Walmart shuffles executives after holiday season, chief merchant departing

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Cashiers ring up shoppers at a Walmart store in Burbank, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Walmart is shuffling its executive team after the 2019 holiday season.

The company’s chief merchant Steve Bratspies is set to depart, according to an internal memo sent to employees Friday by Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner, which was reviewed by CNBC.

Scott McCall will replace Bratspies, the memo said. McCall most recently led entertainment, toys and seasonal at Walmart.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished as a team…” Bratspies said in an emailed statement, reflecting on his 14 years at the company. “I will always cherish my Walmart family and take pride in the growth we fueled together, but it’s time for a new challenge. I am excited about what’s ahead for me and for Walmart.”

Walmart has yet to report its holiday sales, while rival Target earlier in the week said its 2019 season missed its estimates due to weakness in toys and electronics. Amazon, meantime, said it had a “record” holiday season, though it hasn’t disclosed exact figures. Industry-wide holiday sales climbed 4.1%, according to the National Retail Federation, a leading industry trade group.

Walmart is set to report its fourth-quarter and full-year results next month.

Bratspies’ departure marks the latest in a string of management changes at Walmart in recent months. Furner took over as the president and CEO of Walmart’s U.S. division on Nov. 1. Prior to that, he was the head of Sam’s Club.

There has also been shake-up on the retailer’s e-commerce team. The chief merchant for its U.S. e-commerce business, Ashley Buchanan, left in December to become CEO of crafts retailer Michael’s. Over the summer, Walmart started to merge its Jet.com business with its own, eliminating the role of Jet president. Marc Lore, the co-founder of Jet.com, still heads up Walmart’s e-commerce business in the U.S.

The company also on Friday named Dacona Smith as chief operating officer of Walmart U.S., according to the memo. He previously held that title at the company’s Sam’s Club division.

Replacing Smith at Sam’s Club is Lance de la Rosa, another company veteran, the memo said.

The memo said all of the changes are effective Feb. 1. The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the leadership shuffling.

“These moves demonstrate the depth of talent in our business and the opportunity for the advancement at Walmart,” Furner said in the memo.

Walmart shares were falling less than 1% Friday afternoon. The retailer’s stock has rallied nearly 20% over the past 12 months. Walmart has a market value of about $327.3 billion.



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