In the latest shuffling of its management team, Wal-Mart on Thursday named walmart.com chief executive officer Carter Cast head of U.S. business strategy, a new position.

Raul Vazquez, who was walmart.com’s chief marketing officer and supervised a major redesign last fall, succeeds Cast as ceo of the Web site.

The $352 billion retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., is trying to kick-start sluggish sales in the U.S. division, its largest. The changes are effective immediately.

“Carter’s outstanding leadership, strategic vision and proven success at walmart.com will help us further advance our U.S. business,” Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart president and ceo, said in a statement. “And I am extremely pleased to have a talent like Raul leading our fast-growing online business, where his e-commerce and marketing skills will help further leverage the Wal-Mart brand.”

The promotions are part of a trend at Wal-Mart to give prominence to merchants who have shown they understand how to sell to a middle- and upper middle-class customer. Walmart.com caters to a higher-income consumer than Wal-Mart stores, and has broken ground for the retailer in selling luxury items such as cashmere, fine jewelry, HDTVs and furniture.

Wal-Mart has struggled with apparel in its stores, but clothing has been one of the fastest-growing categories online, logging triple-digit gains, Vazquez told WWD in October.

Wal-Mart last month named John Fleming — Cast’s former manager, who also had a successful run leading walmart.com — chief merchant. Stephen Quinn was appointed chief marketing officer.

Cast led the relaunch of apparel online in 2004, but departed soon after for a short stint in marketing at eBay.

Wal-Mart, which tends to promote from within, has a tradition of moving executives among operational areas to groom them for high-ranking positions.

Cast and Vazquez report to Castro Wright.

This story first appeared in the February 16, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.