July 12, 2018
Tokyo- U.S. retail giant Walmart Inc. has decided to sell its shareholdings in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu G.K. and withdraw from the Asian country's market, informed sources said Thursday.
The move appears to be part of Walmart's global business realignment amid intensifying competition with online retailers including Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart has begun to approach potential buyers of Seiyu assets including a major Japanese logistics company and an investment fund, according to the sources.
Seiyu had 335 stores across the country as of May. The selling price is seen reaching hundreds of billions of yen if all stores are put up for sale.
It looks difficult for Walmart to sell all Seiyu stores, many of which are aging, in a bundle, as domestic general merchandize store operators including Aeon Co. and Ito-Yokado Co. are struggling due to the country's falling population and the spread of online shopping, industry watchers said.
Walmart and Seiyu announced the launch of their comprehensive partnership in March 2002. While Walmart was seeking to enter the Japanese market, Seiyu was facing worsening business conditions in the aftermath of the collapse of a bubble economy in Japan in the early 1990s.
Since Walmart made Seiyu a fully owned subsidiary in 2008, the Japanese supermarket chain has worked to strengthen earnings through Walmart-style discount sales. Jiji Press
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