Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has declined to comment on reports that it has secured the acquisition of a Chinese hypermarket chain, although it did confirm that it was eyeing expansion in the Chinese market.

"China is a growth market for us and we are looking to expand in the region," Wal-Mart International spokesperson Amy Wyatt told just-food this afternoon (17 October).

A report in the Wall Street Journal yesterday suggested that with a US$1bn deal struck for the acquisition of a Chinese hypermarket chain, Wal-Mart would become the biggest food and department store operator in China.

The deal is for the 100 Chinese Supercenters owned by Trust-Mart, the report said citing unnamed sources close to the negotiations.

If the deal were to go ahead, Wal-Mart would operate the most hypermarkets in the country, overtaking France's Carrefour.