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Walmart eyes brand acquisitions

Walmart says it wants to grow its China business by acquiring brands.

Walmart, like its foreign peers, is struggling to expand in China as it faces tough competition from local retailers. The retailer, with 398 stores, trails Chinese retailer Sun Art Retail Group, with 284 stores.

Last year, Walmart said it would open 100 stores in China by 2015, far below its annual opening pace of 50 to 60 stores of previous years.

But, Walmart plans to up its ante in the world’s second largest economy by acquiring brands, which could also include a foreign chain, says Scott Price, CEO of Walmart Asia.

“We want to grow in areas where we aren’t present today,” said Price during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Indonesia.

Price also said that Walmart’s online arm in China, Yihaodian, where it bought 51 per cent stake last year, has doubled its users this year to 24 million.

The plan to acquire brands comes after Chinese retailer China Resources Enterprises agreed to merge its more than 2986 stores in China with Tesco’s 134 stores.

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