Walmart is receiving outside interest for its JetBlack text-to-order business

By guest author Lauren Thomas from CNBC

  • Walmart is in talks with outside parties about JetBlack, according to a Bloomberg report.
  • The company is discussing outside partnerships, spinning off or selling the text-to-order business, the report said.
  • JetBlack was launched about two years ago in New York.

Walmart has received inquiries from firms interested in JetBlack, which could entail the company spinning off the text-to-order business, partnering up with outside parties or selling JetBlack entirely, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Caption courtesy by CNBC

A representative from Walmart declined CNBC’s request for comment.

Walmart launched JetBlack about two years ago, initially in beta testing. The platform, which is still only live in New York, has been spearheaded by Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss. Fleiss joined Walmart in 2017 to work alongside founder Mark Lore.

Mark Lore (caption courtesy by Walmart)

JetBlack essentially offers members, who pay USD 50 per month, a personal shopping service and the ability to order anything they want, on demand. There are also other perks included, such as gift wrapping. And JetBlack’s personal shoppers will make gift recommendations.

Lore has recently said that JetBlack customers are spending an average of $1,500 per month, but Walmart hasn’t detailed any other plans to scale the business.

Lore has, however, touted that Walmart could one day bring this same text-to-order technology to the entire Walmart business.

Walmart did not initiate any of these talks with outside parties, Bloomberg said, calling the discussions preliminary.

The talks come amid Walmart dealing with its own backlash internally, with some workers on Walmart’s stores team reportedly upset over Lore’s money-losing e-commerce efforts. Vox reported earlier this year that Walmart was looking to sell some of the start-ups it is acquired over the years, including women’s apparel brand ModCloth.

Walmart shares were up less than 1 % on Thursday, September 26, 2019 afternoon, having climbed more than 27 % this year.