March 1, 2010, 12:00 AM

Wal-Mart creates an international e-commerce division

With, its new international e-commerce division, Wal-Mart says it will develop a single global e-commerce platform designed to support web sites in multiple foreign markets.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is calling it It’s the new global e-commerce unit designed to drive online growth in international markets, which Wal-Mart unveiled in January. The retail giant also restructured its U.S. division to integrate it more closely with its stores.

“Now that we have a well-defined blueprint to continue to grow our online business, it’s time to leverage our size and global footprint to take advantage of this evolving customer trend,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, in an internal memo.

Wal-Mart, which operates e-commerce sites in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Mexico and Brazil, says the unit will develop global e-commerce strategies and create a single global e-commerce platform that could be used in every market, similar to the single global platform that Inc. operates.

Wan Ling Martello, previously Wal-Mart International chief financial officer, will head up the unit as executive vice president and chief operating officer of In the U.S., Wal-Mart reassigned CEO Raul Vazquez to executive vice president of Wal-Mart Stores and president of the newly created Wal-Mart West offline division.

Rather than replace Vazquez as CEO, the retailer says it plans to integrate its online and offline merchandising and operations. Steve Nave, previously chief operating officer, will oversee that effort as general manager of the retailer’s U.S. web site.

Stephen Quinn, the retailer’s chief marketing officer of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, will now also oversee online marketing.

The changes are the latest in a series of moves Wal-Mart has made to challenge Amazon for online supremacy. Wal-Mart executives argue they can employ together with the 4,200 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in the U.S. to offer consumers convenience they can’t get from an online-only retailer like Amazon.

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