Saying that now that the giant retailer’s customers represent more than just those millions who walk through a store’s doors, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is dropping the hyphen, the upper-case “M,” and “Stores” to become Walmart Inc. The change is effective February 1, 2018, the first day of Walmart’s new 2019 fiscal year. The company’s New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol will not change.
The company’s original name, Wal-Mart Inc., was changed in 1970 to the current official name. The company also held its initial public offering (IPO) in 1970. The current unhyphenated logo — Walmart — was first used in 2008.
CEO Doug McMillon said:
Our customers know us as Walmart and today they shop with us not only in our stores but online and with our app as well. While our legal name is used in a limited number of places, we felt it was best to have a name that was consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer. Looking ahead, we’ll continue to invest in and strengthen our stores around the world and expand our eCommerce capabilities as we help save customers’ time and money. As time goes on, customers will increasingly just think of and see one Walmart.
The company said it currently operates under nearly 60 different banners around the world, including its e-commerce sites, more than 11,600 stores and club stores.
Many of Walmart’s recent acquisitions — Jet.com, Modcloth and Bonobos — are online-only properties that operate under the own banners. Walmart recently agreed with Lord & Taylor to dedicate a portion of Walmart.com as the online “flagship store” for the venerable department store. For Walmart it’s another foray in an attempt to attract higher end customers to a fashion destination on Walmart.com.
The announcement had no positive impact on the stock price. Shares traded down about 0.4% in the noon hour Wednesday, at $97.43 in a 52-week range of $65.28 to $100.13. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $100.47. Walmart’s stock has added nearly 42% so far in 2017.