By Michelle Graff
Mike Duke, left, is retiring as the head of mega-retailer Walmart and will be replaced by Doug McMillon.
Bentonville, Ark.--Walmart Stores Inc. announced Monday that Mike Duke, its president and CEO, will retire and  be replaced by the head of the retailer’s international division, Doug McMillon.

McMillon, the 47-year-old president and CEO of Walmart International, will succeed the 63-year-old Duke effective Feb. 1.

Duke, who has been with Walmart since 1995 following a 25-year career with Federated and May Department Stores, will stay on board as an advisor to McMillon for one year and will continue serving as chairman of the executive committee of the board.

McMillon has been with Walmart for a total of 22 years, starting with a summer job at a distribution center when he was a teenager in 1984. Before ascending to his current position as head of Walmart International, McMillon held a variety of executive positions with the retailer, including as president and CEO at Sam’s Club from 2006 to February 2009.

In a news release issued Monday, Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart’s board of directors, said the change in leadership “comes at a time of strength and growth at Walmart,” though the company’s recent financials suggest otherwise.

U.S. same-store sales declined slightly in the third quarter for Walmart and Duke noted in a news release that the retail environment remains “competitive.”

For a number of years, Walmart was the No. 1 seller of fine jewelry in the country, according to National Jeweler’s list of $100 Million Supersellers.

Although it was surpassed by Sterling Jewelers Inc. (Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry) in the most recent list, published in 2012 based on 2011 financials, Walmart still was the second-largest retailer of fine jewelry in the U.S.

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