Wal-Mart pulls out of Germany

The news that Wal-Mart is pulling out of Germany triggered speculation in the City that the globe's biggest retailer may also withdraw from the UK.

Wal-Mart moved quickly to announce it is "fully committed" to its Asda supermarket chain of 300 stores in the UK. The US giant had bought the Wertkauf and Interspar grocery chains in Germany in 1998, but has failed to make a profit, despite reaching annual sales of £1.41bn.

City pundits reckon Wal-Mart did not understand the German business culture and could not dislodge Aldi and Lidl, the local discount stores, as the cheapest retailers in Germany. Wal-Mart's 85 German stores have been sold to Metro, Germany's largest retailer. Wal-Mart will post a second-quarter pre-tax loss of £585m as a result of the sale.

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