Walmart Tries to Look Cool in Silicon Valley

Has foosball tables, conference room named after Justin Bieber
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2013 4:47 PM CDT
Walmart Tries to Look Cool in Silicon Valley
An outdoors sign for Walmart is seen in Duarte, Calif.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Amazon has left Walmart in the dust in the online shopping game, so now the big-box store empire is playing catch-up, rapidly expanding its presence in Silicon Valley. To do so, the company is trying to replicate a hip Bay Area start-up environment, reports the New York Times: Walmart's San Bruno office is attempting to woo engineers by offering foosball tables and treadmills, and serving up white asparagus panna cotta instead of sandwiches. Other touches, like naming conference rooms after Rihanna and Justin Bieber, sound more like something your mom would think was cool.

Still, the company has successfully lured 150 staff away from companies like Yahoo and eBay this summer. It has also recruited talent by acquiring a number of small start-ups. But it still has a long way to go. Amazon is on track to do $74.4 billion in revenue this year—Walmart expects to make just $10 billion online. The company is hoping to compete on delivery speed, thanks to its 4,100 stores around the county. It's now offering same-day delivery in five markets, and grocery delivery in two. But some question whether this will really be enough to dominate the market. One analyst from Wells-Fargo describes these additions as just "blocking and tackling." "Amazon is the Walmart of the post-2000 period," he says. (Read more Walmart stories.)

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