Blog: Dean BestWal-Mart in emerging market spotlight

Dean Best | 15 February 2012

Over the last 48 hours, Wal-Mart has made headlines over its operations in China and over whether if or when it will invest in Russia.

On Monday, Wal-Mart executive Lev Khasis, who was CEO at Russia's largest retailer X5 Retail Group, told the Russia Today news channel that the US retail giant could enter the market within the next two years.

Meanwhile, today, reports in Russia said X5 commercial director Ekaterina Ishevskaya was set to join Khasis at Wal-Mart.

Speculation over whether Wal-Mart will enter Russia has swirled for years. In February last year, it decided to close an office in Moscow after not being able to identify acquisition targets in the country.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson told just-food today that the retailer still believed M&A was the way to enter Russia but insisted there was "no clear acquisition partner" in the country "in the near term". The spokesperson refused to be drawn on whether Ishevskaya was set to join the retailer.

The fresh headlines over Russia followed media reports around Wal-Mart's operations in China. On Monday, Doug McMillon, the head of Wal-Mart's international business, told China Daily that the retailer was looking to boost its sales growth in a country where some industry watchers believe it is losing share to rivals.

McMillon spoke to the newspaper just days after Wal-Mart named Greg Foran, a former executive at Australian retailer Woolworths, was named as CEO of the retailer's business in China.

"China is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. We want to not only keep pace with the market growth, but we would like to, over time, grow market share. So, [Foran's] target will be around growing faster than the market," McMillon told the paper.

However, as we reported earlier this week, Foran is taking charge of one of Wal-Mart's most challenging businesses.


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