Wal-Mart is close to securing a deal to buy Chinese hypermarket chain Trust-Mart for $1bn (£800m). Trust-Mart is China's second-largest hypermarket group with 100 stores. The deal would make Wal-Mart the largest foreign retailer in the country. Wal-Mart entered the Chinese market in 1996 and currently operates 66 Wal-Mart Supercenters and Sam's Club stores in 34 cities.

French retailer Carrefour has called for agreement among international retailers to stop opening smaller stores in Thailand. Retailers including Tesco and Carrefour are in consultation with the government over expansion plans but Carrefour said: "Small outlets directly compete against local retailers, which have forced them out of business." A group of shop owners are also planning to demonstrate against Tesco opening its Lotus stores.

South East Asia
Nestlé plans to sell its canned liquid milk businesses in South East Asia to Singapore-based Fraser & Neave Holdings. Fraser & Neave will take over the manufacturing and distribution under licence of Nestlé canned liquid milk lines in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and some other countries from 1 February.

United States
Irish foods and agri-business company IAWS has paid $340m for Otis Spunkmeyer, the US muffin manufacturer and the biggest supplier of frozen biscuit dough in North America. The move is the largest single takeover by IAWS and will treble its size in the US.

Metro has extended its foray into Moldova with a second C&C. More than 17,500 products are housed at the new site including 7,500 food lines. Metro also plans to step up its investment in Turkey with the opening of more stores in 2007. The retailer now has a presence in 29 countries.

Carrefour has been fined 1375,000 for illegal selling practices, according to reports in the press. The retailer was found guilty of selling products at a loss in 15 of its Parisian stores between October 2004 and August 2005.

United States
The Walt Disney Company will serve healthier meals at its theme parks and reduce fat and sugar in Disney-branded foods as part of a drive to improve childrens' diets following pressure from parents. The guidelines will also extend to fast-food restaurants.

Danone has reported a 9.5% increase in third-quarter like-for-like sales while for the first nine months like-for-likes rose 9.1% and consolidated sales rose 9.3% to 110.77bn. In a statement, Danone said: "The acceleration of organic growth in the third-quarter is mainly due to the very good performance of the beverages business in Asia. In Europe the level of activity has been satisfactory."