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Walmart tech unit buys 2 Indian firms

Walmart Labs, the technology unit of Walmart Inc., has acquired two Indian businesses, a company spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

Health-tech company FloCare will work with Walmart Labs' customer technology team, and wholesale trading platform BigTrade will join its supply-chain team, according to a news release. Both firms are based in Bangalore. Walmart did not disclose the terms of the transactions.

"We are in an exciting phase of transformation and it feels great to add terrific minds from the startup ecosystem in India to our growing team," Hari Vasudev, vice president of technology for Walmart Labs India, said in the release.

Since Walmart bought a majority stake in Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart Group last year, Walmart Labs has expanded its engineering team in India with several smaller acquisitions. These include machine-learning startup Int.Ai and mobile analytics company Appsfly. In February, Walmart Labs added Dataturks, a data annotation platform founded by two former Flipkart executives.

Walmart Labs employs about 6,000 "technologists" worldwide who develop retail innovations for use in stores and online.

-- Serenah McKay

Walmart workers on strike in Chile

About 17,000 Walmart workers in Chile went on strike Wednesday after labor talks between the company and the union failed. As many as 124 of the retailer's 375 stores across the country closed as a result of the strike.

At the heart of the dispute is the demand by workers to be compensated for the increase in automation that's forcing them to multitask in their daily jobs, for example, with cashiers now having to restock shelves next to cash registers. Walmart initially offered a 3% wage increase and a one-time payment of $72, while the union asked for a 4% salary rise. Walmart said that it later increased the offer to as much as 8.14% but that the union refused to discuss the offer.

Emails and calls to the union weren't answered.

Monica Tobar, Walmart Chile vice-president of human resources, said Walmart plans to ask the union to resume conversations. She declined to say how much the strike could affect its results.

-- Bloomberg News

State index tumbles 3.89, ends at 408.97

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Wednesday at 408.97, down 3.89.

"Equities were strong with the S&P 500 Index briefly above the 3,000 level following testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in which he expressed a willingness to lower interest rates due to weakness in the global economy," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 07/11/2019

Print Headline: News in brief

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