WAL-MART'S CHINESE CONNECTION: Wal-Mart, hot on the international expansion trail, said its first two stores in China would open by mid-1995 and cost a combined $20 million to $25 million.
Wal-Mart chairman S. Robson Walton, speaking Friday in Hong Kong, said the company would operate a 150,000-square-foot store in Shenzhen, the special economic zone located just north of Hong Kong, and a 118,000-square-foot unit in the eastern Pudong district of Shanghai.
The Asian foray kicks off with the opening of three outlets in the northern suburbs of Hong Kong later this month. The stores are named Value Clubs, a banner Wal-Mart does not use in the U.S.
Wal-Mart's partner in both ventures is CP Pokphand, a subsidiary of CP Group, a giant conglomerate in Thailand, which operates a supermarket chain, 420 7-Eleven outlets and eight general merchandise stores with Dutch retailer Makro.
The U.S.-Thai team will control 70 percent of the project; the remaining 30 percent will be held by Chinese partner Shenzhen Development Co. For the Chinese outlets, the new joint venture hopes to source 80 percent of goods locally. American imports will make up the balance. In contrast, the Hong Kong stores will sell mostly U.S. merchandise; about 30 percent of goods will be supplied locally.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is projected to have sales of $85 billion this year.
As reported, Wal-Mart last week announced a joint venture to build Dillard Department Stores in Mexico. Wal-Mart already operates 39 stores there through its partnership with Cifra, Mexico's largest retailer. The newest deal unites Wal-Mart/Cifra in a 50-50 partnership with Dillard's. Six Dillard's stores are slated to open in Mexico within the next two years, and 10 more are under consideration.
Wal-Mart has already announced plans for expansion in Brazil and Argentina, and operates 122 units in Canada. These were former Woolco stores that Wal-Mart acquired from Woolworth Corp.

SEARS TUBES IT: The Sears Merchandise Group is getting into the act on television, and will be the retail sponsor of the World Music Awards, scheduled to air next May. Sears has entered into a sponsorship agreement with Television Production Partners, a new venture that is producing the award show and other special broadcasts. Sears is the only retailer in TPP's stable of advertisers.

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