Wal-Mart Stores has remained quiet on reports that it has hired Ekaterina Ishevskaya, the former commercial director of local giant X5 Retail Group, as it gears up to expand in the Russian market.

The US-based retailer closed its Moscow office in February last year, after failing to identify appropriate acquisition targets that would facilitate its entry into the market.

"We examined the Russian market for several years and concluded the right entry strategy is through acquisition. Since we have decided to enter the market through acquisitions, not greenfield development, and since there is no clear acquisition partner in the near term, there was not a business reason to continue our Moscow representative office," a spokesperson for Wal-Mart told just-food today (15 February).

"Our international strategy is all about focus, putting our resources – people and finances – in markets where we can make a difference for our customers and generate returns for our shareholders. We still believe the Russia market has promise and we'll continue, as we do in markets all over the world, to watch for the right market-entry opportunity."

However, the spokesperson insisted that Wal-Mart has "nothing new to share" on its plans for Russia and declined to comment on the reports that is appointing staff in the region.