Editor’s blog: Wal-Mart’s Jet.com phasing out Kirkland Signature offerings
Last week I received an email from a reporter at Bloomberg News asking me to comment on why Jet.com, the e-commerce site now owned by Wal-Mart Stores, is selling hundreds of Kirkland Signature products on its site. Kirkland Signature, of course, is the popular private brand offered by Costco Wholesale, a direct competitor of Sam’s Club, the warehouse club owned by Wal-Mart Stores.
The reporter mentioned that Jet.com selling Kirkland Signature products “might not make the folks in Bentonville happy.” Bentonville, Ark., of course, is where Wal-Mart Stores and Sam’s Club are located.
One of the questions the reporter asked me was: Is it embarrassing for Wal-Mart Stores to own a site that sells a major rival's main brand, or do you think Wal-Mart should be more agnostic and take e-commerce growth wherever it can get it?
Without knowing the circumstances, I declined answering the questions. Wal-Mart Stores acquired Jet.com last summer, and I figured some kinks were still being worked out in the deal.
I contacted Meredith Klein, director of media and public relations for Jet.com, who set the matter straight.
Indeed, Jet.com does sell Kirkland Signature products — more than 200 of them. In fact, Jet was the third-biggest seller of Costco products online in the first half of 2016, according to Bloomberg. But that will stop … sort of.
“We are in the process of phasing out Kirkland Signature products that we buy directly and fulfill ourselves,” Klein said in an email. “There are still third-party retailers that sell the items on our site.”
Jet.com does sell more than twice as many products from Member’s Mark, the private brands line from Sam’s Club, on the site. But it doesn’t look like Kirkland Signature will be going away completely from Jet.com anytime soon.