TOKYO – United States retailer Walmart Inc. has decided to sell its unit of Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu to reorganize its global presence, Japanese economic daily Nikkei reported on Thursday.
Nikkei, which cited unnamed sources, estimated the sale of Seiyu to generate 300 billion yen to 500 billion yen ($2.7 billion to $4.5 billion).
The plan is a part of Walmart’s attempts to counter growing e-commerce competition from firms such as Amazon, and invest in faster growing economies like China and India as opposed to its limited growth potential in Japan with a fast ageing population and sluggish consumption patterns.
In January, Walmart had partnered with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and in May it bought Indian e-commerce portal Flipkart.
Seiyu’s unloading would mark Walmart’s exit from Japan, after the exit of other global retail giants like Carrefour in 2005 and Tesco in 2011.
According to Nikkei, perspective buyers, who have approached Walmart, include local retailers and trading houses.
Walmart had acquired a 6.1 percent stake in Seiyu – established in 1963 and one of the largest supermarket chains in the country – in 2002.
After three years of majority control, it was turned into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart.