June 15, 2020 / 2:25 PM / in 20 days

UPDATE 1-Walmart partners with Shopify to expand online marketplace business

(Adds analyst quote, Shopify statement, background; Updates shares)

June 15 (Reuters) - Walmart Inc has partnered with Canadian e-commerce firm Shopify Inc , as the world’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer ramps up its efforts to capture a bigger slice of the coronavirus-driven surge in online shopping.

U.S.- and TSX-listed shares of Shopify, which have doubled in value this year and briefly made the company the most valuable Canadian company in May, were up about 7% in morning trading on Monday.

Online sales at retailers, from cosmetics makers to pizza chains, have boomed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced customers to stay indoors.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart said it expected to add 1,200 Shopify sellers to its marketplace this year and that the partnership was focused on adding small- and medium-sized U.S. businesses to its platform, Walmart.com. (bit.ly/2YvxHOg)

Last month, Walmart reported a 74% surge in quarterly e-commerce sales and discontinued operations at e-commerce start-up Jet.com, which it had acquired for $3.3 billion in 2016.

Shopify said the merchants would be able to connect their accounts to their Walmart seller accounts, before they could list their products separately on Walmart's website. (bit.ly/2AsYF19)

“Walmart is the 3rd biggest marketplace in the U.S. behind Amazon and Ebay, both of whom are already channel partners for Shopify, so this partnership is a natural next step and frankly, a long awaited one,” Eight Capital analyst Suthan Sukumar said.

Shopify has announced similar partnerships with Facebook and Pinterest in recent weeks. (Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Subhranshu Sahu)

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