In fact, the verified account for Walmart Help had to step in and set the record straight on Twitter in 2020. “Wayfair is one of the third-party Marketplace sellers on our website,” that account tweeted at the time, replying to a user who claimed Wayfair is Walmart-owned.
The Wayfair Twitter account tweeted along similar lines in 2017. “We have a partnership with Walmart and provide an array of products available through their online marketplace,” that account informed another user.
Wayfair is its own company.
Wayfair is a publicly-traded e-commerce company listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "W." On its website, Wayfair explains that co-founders Steve Conine and Niraj Shah, who met as teenagers, went into business together during their final semester of college at Cornell University when they took a class on entrepreneurism.
In 2002, the duo launched Wayfair from a spare bedroom in Conine’s house. They focused on stereo racks and stands initially and then branched into other home decor and furnishing products across more than 250 standalone sites.
In 2011, Connie and Shan combined those sites into one e-commerce destination. By 2012, Wayfair was exceeding $600 million in annual revenue. That’s small potatoes compared to what happened nearly a decade later, though. In the 12 months ending in March 2021, Wayfair generated net revenue of $15.3 billion, thanks to the efforts of more than 16,200 employers supporting Wayfair.com and its sibling websites, AllModern, Birch Lane, Joss & Main, and Perigold.
Marketplace sellers, Wayfair included, expand Walmart’s online offerings.
“Selling on Walmart Marketplace is offered to qualified businesses only,” Walmart adds. “We have a thorough selection process and analyze the seller’s catalog, operations, business information, and more to ensure they can provide the same high-quality experiences to all of our Walmart.com customers.”
The company also notes that it processes customers’ payments for Marketplace orders and doesn't share customers’ financial information with the sellers. However, the sellers are responsible for shipping, handling, customer service, exchanges, and returns.
Other companies are Walmart subsidiaries, though.
Sam’s Club is perhaps the best-known company owned by Walmart, especially because its namesake is Walmart founder Sam Walton. The chain of warehouse clubs has nearly 600 stores in the U.S. and more than 200 abroad and employs around 100,000 employees in the U.S., according to Walmart’s corporate website.
In 2017, Walmart acquired the apparel brand Bonobos for $310 million and the outdoor gear retailer Moosejaw for $51 million. The company also acquired the now-defunct e-commerce retailer Jet.com in 2016 for $3.3 billion, only to shut it down for years later.
In a CNBC interview in 2020, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that he would “absolutely” make the Jet.com acquisition again. He pointed out that the deal gave the company both fulfillment centers and Jet.com co-founder Marc Lore, who led Walmart’s e-commerce until his 2021 departure. “If you look at the trajectory of our business, it changed when we made that acquisition,” McMillon added.