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The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart has been informing some of its products are out of stock, even when they are not, because these are items are seen as too expensive to ship.

According to the story, “The new system, introduced earlier this month, has led to a decline in sales at some companies that sell their products on, according to executives at Walmart suppliers. Some suppliers weren’t warned of the change in advance, said these people. Under the new system, suppliers will have to stock their products at more Walmart warehouses around the country to keep sales steady, according to an executive at a large food company.”

The Journal goes on: “The shift is part of a test, Walmart said, to see if it can deliver more products via ground shipping, a cheaper option than air shipping, in two days or less. It also aims to reduce what it calls split shipments—online orders that arrive in multiple packages from different warehouses … The test applies to products shoppers buy most, including household cleaners, nonperishable groceries, pet food and cosmetics.”

When certain products are said to be out of stock, the story says, Walmart will recommend alternative products from closer warehouses.

The Journal writes, “Walmart has tried several new tactics over the past year to make its growing online business more profitable as it faces pressure from investors to show a return on the billions of dollars it has spent to expand its e-commerce business.

“Over the past year Walmart asked suppliers to sell bundles of products and pricier items to make up for the cost of shipping. It raised online prices and started listing the lower in-store price for each item, but it quickly changed tack after consumers found the practice confusing. Some online prices are still higher than in stores.”
KC's View:
So, in essence, Walmart is lying to customers because it does not want to deliver on the promise it is making?

This strikes me as disingenuous at best, and a symbol of something less than a total commitment to e-commerce at worst.