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Walmart's Jetblack ending its 2-year run

Walmart Inc.'s, a personal shopping service in New York City, is shutting down after two years, the retailer said Thursday.

Jetblack will fulfill outstanding orders and answer customer inquiries through next Friday, and honor its 30-day return policy through March 14. It will also refund customers their most recent $50 monthly membership fee.

A message to members on Jetblack's website states that the service's technology "will be rolling into Walmart to power its conversational commerce capabilities and build new experiences for customers."

Scott Eckert, senior vice president of next generation retail and principal at Store No. 8, Walmart's business incubator, said in a news release that "conversational commerce" includes such technologies as the text-based ordering system Jetblack used, and voice ordering for pickup and delivery.

The first portfolio company to emerge out of Store No. 8, Jetblack was part of an initiative to test and build these technologies, Eckert said.

-- Serenah McKay

McNamara is Tyson board vice president

A longtime Tyson Foods board member has been appointed as the board's vice chairman.

Kevin McNamara, 63, is a founder of McNamara Family Ventures, a group that invests in heath care companies, and director at Signify Health (formerly CenseoHealth), after serving as its chief executive officer for three years. He has been on the board of Tyson since 2007, serving as an expert in finance and management.

"We look forward to his expanded participation in the company, especially as we collaborate with the board and executive management to implement our strategy for growth and leadership," company Chairman John Tyson said in a news release.

As vice chairman, McNamara will take on more duties and responsibilities, assisting John Tyson with board matters and supporting the executive leadership with company goals and strategies.

A shareholder filing shows that he will be paid an annual retainer of $125,000 with his appointment and stock benefits valued at $110,000. McNamara earned total compensation of $267,325 in fiscal 2019, a proxy statement shows.

-- Nathan Owens

Arkansas Index sees stocks close down

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Thursday at 452.98, down 0.86 points.

"Equities opened lower this morning following reports of a surge in Chinese coronavirus patients but partially recovered losses as investors shifted towards defensive sectors including utilities and real estate," 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 02/14/2020

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