US retail giant Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) will launch an investment arm to expand its e-commerce business.
The world's largest retailer will partner with retail start-ups, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, Wal-Mart announced yesterday.
The project will be dubbed Store No. 8 and will be based in California's Silicon Valley.
Store No. 8 will will collaborate with startups that specialize in areas including robotics, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
A launch date was not given but senior vice-president, incubation and strategic partnerships, Seth Beal said the venture will at least initially be separated from Wal-Mart so as not to impact the retailer's bottom line.
The plan will be implemented by Wal-Mart's e-commerce chief Marc Lore, who joined the firm after Wal-Mart bought online retailer Jet.com for $3 billion in August last year.
Wal-Mart has since purchased three other online retailers, including women's fashion and accessories retailer ModCloth, which it bought just last week.