The Metro Group's plan to acquire the German assets of Wal-Mart has received regulatory approval, meaning that the deal can now be finalised.

During the next few months an integration team will examine how many of the 85 Wal-Mart hypermarkets acquired will be covered by the Real brand. Already, Metro said, it is clear that the majority of stores will be integrated "because they ideally complement Real's present network of locations".

The first Wal-Mart outlets will be reopened under the Real banner in time for the start of Christman business. All hypermarkets to be integrated will be converted by mid-2007.

Metro said that the acquisition will considerably strengthen the market position of its sales division Real.