Sat, Jul 14, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Walmart says no decision yet on sale of Japan unit

Bloomberg

Walmart Inc said it is committed to building its Japanese business, downplaying media reports that the retailing giant plans to sell its Seiyu chain.

“Walmart has not made a decision to sell Seiyu; we are not in any discussions with prospective buyers,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We continue to build our Japan business towards the future to meet the changing needs of customers there.”

The Nikkei Shimbun on Thursday reported that Walmart plans to sell Seiyu to several logistics companies and investment funds for as much as ¥500 billion (US$4.4 billion).

RESTRUCTURING

The world’s largest retailer has been reshaping its international operations. In recent months, it has sold a majority stake in its Brazilian business, agreed to cede control of its British chain Asda and spent US$16 billion to acquire India’s e-commerce leader Flipkart Group in its biggest-ever deal.

Judith McKenna, who took the helm of Walmart’s US$120 billion international business earlier this year, said during a press conference in late May that she was “happy” with Seiyu’s performance.

She added that the business was “in the middle of a transformation” with a bigger focus on grocery sales and the alliance with Rakuten Inc.

Separately, Walmart is considering moving its branded credit-card business to Capital One Financial Corp from Synchrony Financial as it seeks to expand its mobile payments offering, people familiar with the matter said.

Walmart has narrowed the competition for its credit-card partnership to bids from the two lenders, the people said.

WALMART PAY

The negotiations are still ongoing, but the retailer is seeking a partner that can support its aspirations for Walmart Pay, the people said.

Cobrand and private label credit cards are a lucrative business for banks and retailers seeking to monetize a cardholder’s loyalty to a certain brand or store.

The Walmart card is the largest program in the US up for renegotiation between this year and next year, analysts at Susquehanna Financial Group said.

“There’s a lot of appetite among banks in this area,” Susquehanna analyst Jamie Friedman said.

The lenders attach “scarcity value” to strong retailers such as Walmart, which is known for having a deep understanding of customers’ buying habits, he said.

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