Wal-Mart to drop ‘stores’ from its formal name

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Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is getting a makeover.

Its new name: Walmart.

The change, which will officially take place beginning in February, is part of a years-long effort by the world’s largest retailer to get customers to think beyond its 11,600 stores.

The company has spent billions buying up websites like Jet.com and Bonobos, and is encouraging customers to shop online, as well as through voice-activated devices such as Google Home.

“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,” Doug McMillon, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “As time goes on, customers will increasingly just think of and see one Walmart.”

Roughly 95 percent of the company’s sales continue to be generated in its stores, but executives say there are signs that is changing. The company has invested heavily in online grocery and same-day delivery programs, and says online sales rose 50 percent in the most recent quarters.

In the past year, the company has purchased a number of specialty e-commerce sites, including ModCloth, Moosejaw, Bonobos and ShoeBuy, and has begun carrying high-end brands like KitchenAid and Bose on its website.