Wal-Mart is size conscious

first_imgWal-Mart spokesman John Simley noted that the reference to possible acquisitions came after a long list of other responsibilities for the job, most of which involve evaluating the market and finding opportunities for growth from new store types. Analysts said it makes sense for Wal-Mart to look at new formats, such as smaller stores, but that the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is not likely to go on an acquisition spree. “Wal-Mart has been building things from the ground up for a long time,” said Patricia Edwards, a portfolio manager and retail analyst at Wentworth, Hauser & Violich in Seattle, which holds about 42,000 Wal-Mart shares. Robert Buchanan, retail analyst at A.G. Edward & Sons, said the head of Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores, Eduardo Castro-Wright, came from Wal-Mart in Mexico where the retailer has six or seven formats and therefore is more experienced with running a variety of store types. Buchanan said the timing is right for looking at new formats because of the imminent opening of Tesco’s first U.S. stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. The British grocery giant plans to open 30 stores called Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, which are smaller than typical supermarkets. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Monday that it is considering new store sizes and types in the U.S. market but played down the possibility of acquisitions as it faces slowing sales growth at its older stores and new competition from British rival Tesco PLC. The world’s largest retailer said it is hiring managers for a team to consider new formats besides the retailer’s four established U.S. types. Those are Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters that combine groceries and general merchandise, Sam’s Club membership stores and Neighborhood Market grocery stores. One of the job ads on Wal-Mart’s Web site refers to potential mergers and acquisitions, but Wal-Mart played down the possibility it might buy existing businesses rather than develop its own. The prospect of acquisitions was raised by the ad for a senior director of “multi-format strategies” whose responsibilities would include to “assess the strategic implications of any possible M&A (mergers and acquisitions) on our overall portfolios.” last_img read more