Wal-Mart has blamed the $863m cost of exiting the German market last month and rising energy costs for its first profit decrease in ten years. The retail giant recorded second-quarter net profit of $2.08bn (£1.1bn), down from $2.8bn (£1.5bn) the year before. It also recorded half-year net profit of $4.7bn (£2.5bn), down from $5.3bn (£2.8bn) the year before, on net sales up 11.9% at $163.4bn (£86.5bn). Like-for-like sales at its US stores for the period increased 2.7%. Although the results were in line with expectations, analysts questioned whether the retailer would be able to meet its targets for the full-year.
A new national organisation has been created in Canada to represent the interest of c-store retailers. The Canadian Convenience Stores Association will represent a sector that generates about $8.5bn in wholesale sales and $11.5bn in retail sales and employs 175,000 people. David Rae, chief executive of the UK's Association of Convenience Stores, said: "We already have an excellent relationship with convenience associations in the US and Australasia, and we look forward to working with the CCSA in the future."
Ahold is under pressure to break up the company after two leading shareholders called on the retailer to sell off its US businesses. Centaurus Capital and Paulson & Co, which have a 6.4% share in the company, said: "We believe that keeping Ahold's disparate retail and wholesale interests together diminishes shareholder value and limits the operating potential of the individual businesses." Last week Ahold reported flat second-quarter sales of E10.5bn (£7.1bn), blaming competitive market conditions and rising energy costs.
Seven & I Holdings, operator of c-store chain 7-Eleven, has acquired White Hen Pantry from hedge fund group Angelo Gordon & Co for $35m (£18.5m) in a bid to strengthen its US operations. The chain operates 206 stores in the Chicago area and in 2005 had an operating profit of $44m (£23m). Joseph DePinto, 7-Eleven president and chief executive, said: "This acquisition is a strategic fit for 7-Eleven and enhances market presence in the Chicago area. White Hen has a well-earned reputation for quality, service and fresh foods. We plan to incorporate best practices from the White Hen stores and provide our customers with an even better and more convenient shopping experience."
Shoprite has reported incidents of public disorder, assault, arson, robbery and malicious damage at more than 40 of its 600 stores following strike action. Last month members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union held lunchtime strikes in a dispute over pay increases and have since started an indefinite strike. Callie Burger, human resources director for Shoprite, said: "The company faces a deliberate campaign of violence, which follows the union's failure to mobilise widespread support for its wage dispute over the past five months of negotiations."