RUSSIA: Walmart has reportedly hired an executive from BP's Russian oil joint venture to help lead its Moscow office ahead of a possible expansion into the country. The retailer hired Avril Conroy, formerly of TNK-BP, as part of the company's management team, though a title has not yet been confirmed. Foreign retailers have been slow to crack Russia, but Walmart which has no stores there is understood to be considering entry through acquisitions.
CANADA: Loblaws has reported an 8.6% drop in net earnings for the second quarter with infrastructure and technology costs dampening profits. The overhaul in its IT and supply chain systems is part of a strategy to compete more effectively with rivals such as Walmart. Operating profit reached £204m, marking a 1.9% increase, and turnover was up 1.2% to £4.5bn.
AUSTRALIA: Family-owned 7-Eleven is set to become Australia's largest independent fuel retailer after the country's competition watchdog granted it permission to acquire ExxonMobil's 295 service stations for an undisclosed sum. The domestic market is currently dominated by Caltex Australia, BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. 7-Eleven must sell four fuel retailing sites as a condition for approval.
Wesfarmers' Coles division has reported a 5.5% increase in fourth-quarter sales. Total Coles sales rose to £4.3bn after the first phase of its turnaround programme. Food and alcohol sales for the fourth quarter were up 4.2% to £3.4bn and up 5.6% to £13.5bn for the year. Coles opened a new supermarket and six new off-licenses in the fourth quarter and opened or refurbished 50 stores during the past year.