Domination wal mart stores inc the worlds largest

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Domination Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, has a 37.7 percent stake in the supermarket chain Seiyu, the operator of Japanese stores and 400 others nationwide. Despite the $6.4 million remodeling of the flagship store, the Wal-Mart name is nowhere to be seen. Moreover, there isn't a single Super Center in Japan, and Wal-Mart officials say they may never open one here. Wal-Mart has arrived in Japan, but it's making its entrance cautiously and stealthily. The retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., studied Japan for several years and concluded it was a complex market best penetrated under an alliance with a local partner that understood Japanese shoppers. So it took a stake in Seiyu last year. Wal-Mart, which operates in 10 nations besides the United States, has adapted its approach to different markets, making itself more visible with Wal-Mart stores in places such as China, while taking a lower profile in Mexico and Britain, where it has chosen partners as it has in Japan. But nowhere else is the total invisibility of Wal-Mart quite as clear as in Japan, the world's second-largest economy. Many Seiyu stores have yet to get a makeover. The flagship store has introduced Wal-Mart's price rollbacks, discounts that run for an extended time, but it has yet to carry out Wal-Mart's most basic concept, everyday low prices. Everyday low prices rely on the advantage of cost cuts that come from global suppliers and from Wal-Mart's sheer buying power, with about 4,700 worldwide stores. Wal-Mart is bringing its technological know-
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how to Japan, introducing a computerized system to track inventory and purchases to boost efficiency and trim costs at Seiyu. On March 14, 2003 when Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced its first foray into Japan, the retailing giant placed a big bet that it could succeed where countless other foreign companies have failed. In the past five years, a number of famous Western brands have been forced to close up shop after failing to catch on in Japan, one of the world's largest and fickle consumer markets. After some embarrassing setbacks in Hong Kong and Indonesia last decade, Wal- Mart is learning to adapt to local conditions. Indeed, Wal-Mart needs to get it right overseas because sales growth is flattening out at home. Wal-Mart's international sales grew 10.5% last year, to about $35.5 billion, or 16% of total sales. Operating profit from those sales surged 31%, to $1.46 billion. And the company expects international operations to contribute a third of its sales and profit growth in the next three to five years. Thus far, much of Wal-Mart's overseas growth has come from Britain, Canada, and Mexico. Wal-Mart's Asia business is growing steadily, even if profits remain elusive. While Wal-Mart failed to gain traction in Hong Kong in the 1990s, it is making gains in China, where it now has 19 stores. In Korea, where the company already has nine stores, Wal-Mart ran into unexpectedly robust competition from local retailers, but it hopes to break even next year. It aims to open five more stores in 2002.
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