Wal-Mart Stores is to close its office in Russia after deciding that the possibility of the company entering the market through acquisition was, in the short term at least, limited.

The US retail giant opened its office in Moscow in 2008 to study how to enter Russia’s fast-growing but fragmented retail market. Some 30 staff were employed there.

However, the world’s largest retailer has yet to make its move, despite being linked with a series of Russian retailers, including Dixy, Lenta and Kopeyka, which was bought last week by local giant X5 Retail Group.

Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart’s international arm, insisted today (13 December) that Russia remained “a compelling retail opportunity” and said local consumers “could benefit from Wal-Mart’s value proposition”.

However, McMillon added: “Since we have decided to enter the market through acquisition, not greenfield development, and since there is no clear acquisition partner in the near term, there is not a business reason to continue our Moscow representative office. We will continue to pursue market entry opportunities.”