Walmart is changing its name — and it reveals a key strategy for the company's future

  • Walmart is changing its official name from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to Walmart Inc., effective February 1, 2018.
  • The name change is another iteration of Walmart's growing emphasis on ecommerce and its departure from the purely store-based strategy of its past.

Walmart is taking the word "stores" out of its name.

The company announced Wednesday that it's changing its official name from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to Walmart Inc., effective February 1, 2018.

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The new name won't change anything about how Walmart does business. It's just another iteration of the company's growing emphasis on ecommerce and its departure from the purely store-based strategy of its past.

"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," said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. "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."

The stylistic change from Wal-Mart to Walmart means the name now matches the retailer's web address, Walmart.com.

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RELATED: 25 Walmart holiday gift bargains

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25 Walmart holiday gift bargains
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25 Walmart holiday gift bargains

SAMSUNG 55-INCH CURVED 4K SMART LED TV

Price: $698 | Buy it 
If you’d rather skip the doorbuster madness of customers clamoring for off-brand or no-name TVs, Walmart has dropped the price on this 55-inch 4K Samsung with a curved screen an impressive $500. Features include a smart remote with voice navigation, three HDMI ports and two USB ports for all your devices.

INSTANT POT 5-QUART PRESSURE COOKER

Price: $49 (Black Friday deal available starting 6 p.m. Nov. 23) | Buy it 
Looking to get your hands on the popular Instant Pot for less? Newer models go for more than $100, but Walmart is only asking half that for an older 5-quart model as part of its Black Friday deals. You’ll still get an impressive six functions in one small appliance, including pressure cooker, steamer, and slow cooker.

DOUBLE CUFF FAIRISLE WARMER SLIPPER SOCKS

Price: $4.97 | Buy it 
This traditional winter pattern is just one of several patterns of cheap slipper socks available at Walmart -- whimsical cats, penguins, or basic black would also make for excellent stocking stuffers. Non-skid dots ensure a stable grip on hard floors, and they're machine-washable, too.

RACHAEL RAY 15-PIECE HARD ENAMEL NONSTICK COOKWARE SET

Price: $99 | Buy it 
A useful gift for newlyweds or anyone setting up a new home, this Rachael Ray cookware set has all the essentials: fry pans, sauce pans, cake pans, cooking spoons and even a fruit and veggie peeler. It also comes in three eye-catching colors: red, orange and marine blue. A similar set with one fewer piece retails for $116 at Amazon and $149 elsewhere.

RCA DUAL SCREEN PORTABLE DVD PLAYER

Price: $59 (Black Friday deal available starting 6 p.m. Nov. 23) | Buy it 
Keep the kids entertained on those long-haul drives with this RCA Dual Screen DVD player, which will be nearly half off for Black Friday. Listen to the built-in speakers or use headphone jacks for a quieter ride. Headrest mounting straps, a remote control, and a power adapter are also included.

OZARK TRAIL TUMBLER

Price: Starting at $8.74 | Buy it 
These rugged, well-reviewed 30-ounce tumblers come in a wide range of colors and make a great small gift for outdoorsy types. Since they're made of double-walled, vacuum-sealed stainless steel, they can keep both hot and cold beverages at a drinkable temperature for a long time. They're also a third of the price of similar YETI tumblers.

DYSON DC34 HANDHELD VACUUM

Price: $99 | Buy it 
The Dyson DC34 isn't the newest Dyson handheld, and that's part of the reason you can get it for a song at Walmart: The newer model is double the price on Amazon. This lightweight cordless vacuum has powerful suction that lasts up to 15 minutes, or you can use it in max-power mode for up to six minutes for tougher jobs. It's also Energy Star-qualified. For bigger jobs, you might consider some these affordable upright vacuums.

POWER WHEELS DUNE RACER

Price: $199 | Buy it 
A dune racer beside the Christmas tree will wow any kid, and this Walmart-exclusive Power Wheels Dune Racer can do it for less. A similar model sells at Toys R Us and Target for $280. Riders can cruise at up to 5 mph forward and 2.5 mph in reverse. There are also power-lock brakes and an under-the-hood storage compartment.

ROKU 4K STREAMING STICK

Price: $48 (Black Friday deal available starting 6 p.m. Nov. 23) | Buy it 
Grab Roku’s new 4K streaming stick for more than $20 off during your Black Friday shopping at Walmart. Roku makes it simple to stream hundreds of thousands of movies and shows from popular services like Netfix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Now, and more. It also comes with a simple-to-use remote. 

NINJA EXPRESS CHOPPER

Price: $17.88 | Buy it 
Save a couple bucks on this speedy little chopper, a great time-saving gift for any cook. A 200-watt motor helps it make quick work of onions, herbs, cheese and even nuts, and current owners rave about its power. You'll pay $20 at Target for the same chopper.

FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 7S INSTANT CAMERA

Price: Starting at $49 | Buy it 
The latest version of the Fujifilm Instax Mini can set you back $10 more, so jump on this Walmart deal -- it even includes a bonus 10-pack of film. Features include automatic light adjustment and flash, a collapsible lens for easy carrying, and colorful cases to satisfy any person on your gift list.

BELLA 12-CUP PROGRAMMABLE COFFEE MAKER

Price: $27.30 | Buy it 
Sleek, well-reviewed, and wallet-friendly, the Bella 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker has everything a java junkie needs to start their day. There's a 24-hour timer, automatic shut-off and a permanent filter basket that eliminates the need for paper filters. The same model is available at Best Buy for about $10 more. Willing to spend a bit more? Some of these affordable coffee machines might fit the bill.

KIDKRAFT UPTOWN ESPRESSO KITCHEN

Price: $140 | Buy it 
Walmart has one of the best prices out there on the popular KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen, and while it's matched by some other retailers like Amazon, they don't throw in 30 pieces of play food like Walmart does. The sturdy Uptown kitchen has modern styling, clicking knobs, working appliance doors, a chalkboard, and more.

DOWN HOME MERMAID TAIL FLEECE THROW

Price: Starting at $9 | Buy it 
Got a mermaid-wannabe in your life? This 66-inch mermaid-tail fleece throw is the perfect inexpensive gift to stave off winter's chill. The quirky blanket comes in six colors and can be machine washed and dried. You'll pay double at Targetfor as-seen-on-TV Snuggle Tails, which are smaller and made from soft polyester.

NOSTALGIA KPM 200 VINTAGE COLLECTION KETTLE POPCORN POPPER

Price: $40 | Buy it 
A retro gift for cinema buffs who want a real theater experience at home, this stylish popper can manage up to 10 cups of popcorn per batch. It has a lighted interior, vented windows and a titled door for easy serving. Get it at Bed Bath and Beyond and you'll pay $15 more.

SCHWINN MERIDIAN ADULT TRICYCLE

Price: $288 | Buy it 
This smooth, 26-inch grown-up trike is an easy way to get a loved one off the couch and moving again. The three-wheel, low-step-over design is particularly great for anyone with balance issues, and a large rear basket makes it ideal for quick trips to the store or picnics down the park path. Walmart offers one of the lower prices out there -- the bike is $370 at Target.

NEW NINTENDO 3DS XL

Price: $179 | Buy it 
Be your favorite gamer's hero this holiday season: Walmart has the hard-to-find New Nintendo 3DS XL, and it's also dropped the price of the handheld gaming system $20 to $179. As its name suggests, the 3DS XL has 3D technology that automatically adjusts based on the position of the user's face. It also boasts a faster processor than the original 3DS to cut down on loading and downloading times.

EASTPOINT SPORTS FOLD 'N' STORE TABLE TENNIS TABLE

Price: $142 | Buy it 
Pingpong tables don't come much cheaper than this model from EastPoint Sports, especially now that Walmart has dropped the price from $250 to $142. It has a tournament-size, 9-by-5-foot playing surface, but it's compact enough once folded to be stashed in a closet or even under a bed. Handles and built-in wheels also make transporting it a snap.

BLACK & DECKER 12-VOLT LITHIUM ION DRILL AND 64-PIECE TOOL KIT

Price: $46.88 | Buy it 
The perfect gift for someone who's setting up a new home and needs a set of tools for light-duty work, this Black & Decker set has all the essentials. It includes a 12-volt lithium-ion drill, a hammer, wrench, pliers, tape measure, screwdrivers and more. It also comes with a handy carrying case. A similar set sells for $20 more at Target.

ACER CB3-532-C47C CHROMEBOOK

Price: $179 | Buy it 
Tablets aren't for everyone. If you're shopping for someone who wants the ease of a full-size keyboard but mainly wants to browse the web, watch videos, or work on documents, this Acer Chromebook could do the trick. It even gets a thumbs-up from PCMag for its large 15-inch screen, impressive all-day battery life, and low price. If you have a little extra in your budget, these affordable laptops are worth considering, as well.

KITCHENAID CLASSIC SERIES STAND MIXER

Price: $199 | Buy it 
One household item that's definitely worth splurging on, the KitchenAid stand mixer is a favorite of bakers everywhere. This 10-speed model, available in black and white, has a 250-watt motor and a stainless-steel, 4.5-quart bowl big enough to handle the dough for six dozen cookies. It comes with a coated flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip, and Walmart has dropped the price a cool $61 just in time for the holidays.

SPROUT CHANNEL CUBBY TABLET

Price: $60 | Buy it 
Take back your iPad and let your toddlers and preschoolers play on the Sprout Channel Cubby Tablet, which has a 7-inch touchscreen and 16 GB of storage. It comes pre-loaded with cartoons and games from Sprout, and the integrated bumpers help protect against the inevitable drops. The similar 16 GB Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition will set you back $100 on Amazon – but it does come with a two-year worry-free guarantee against breakage.

POLAROID CUBE

Price: $68.92 | Buy it 
The Polaroid Cube is an easy-to-use (and cute) budget alternative to a GoPro. This weatherproof, shockproof camera is mountable and able to capture all the action in 1080p high-definition video. It's also way cheaper at Walmart -- buying at Target will set you back another $30.

SUNBEAM ELECTRIC HEATED PLUSH BLANKET, QUEEN

Price: $80 | Buy it 
Help someone banish cold toes and high heat bills this winter with this microplush heated blanket. It has 10 heat settings that let users find that toasty-but-not-too-toasty sweet spot, an automatic safety shut-off after 10 hours, and an easy-to-read LED display. A similar Sunbeam blanket costs more than $90 on Amazon.

BRAUN SERIES 7 ELECTRIC SHAVER

Price: $170 | Buy it 
Walmart matches Amazon on this new-model Braun shaver, which features technology that adapts to a user's facial hair to provide additional power as needed. There are also five shaving modes and a charging station that also cleans the shaver with the touch of a button. The kit also comes with a travel case, cleaning fluid, a brush, and charging cord.

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