Business / Corporate

Walmart downplays reports that it is looking to sell Japanese unit Seiyu

Bloomberg

Walmart Inc. said it’s committed to building its Japanese business, downplaying media reports that the retailing giant will 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 emailed statement. “We continue to build our Japan business towards the future to meet the changing needs of customers there.”

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

The world’s largest retailer has been reshaping its international operations. In recent months, Walmart has sold a majority stake in its Brazilian business, and agreed to cede control of its British chain Asda and spend $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 $120 billion international business earlier this year, said she was “happy” with Seiyu’s performance during a news conference in late May. 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.