Bentonville, Arkansas: Wal-Mart has expanded its presence in China with the acquisition of a 35% stake in discount store chain Trust-Mart. The US retail giant already operates 68 stores in the country and the deal gives it an interest in a further 101 stores in 34 Chinese cities. "Through this investment in Trust-Mart we have the opportunity to expand our presence in China, one of the world's fastest growing markets," said Michael Duke, vice-chairman of Wal-Mart Stores.
Whole Foods gets its Wild Oats
Austin, Texas: Whole Foods Market, which is set to open its first UK store in London this year, has acquired US grocery chain Wild Oats Market for $565m (£288m). Wild Oats Markets is a natural and organic food retailer, with 100 stores in 24 US states and annual sales of $1.2bn.
Heinz third-quarter sales up 5%
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Heinz has reported a 5% increase in third-quarter sales to $2.3bn (£1.17bn) on profit up 88% at $219m (£112m). Figures were boosted by increased marketing support, a strategic focus on health and wellness and the growth of business in emerging countries such as China, Indonesia, Poland and India. "We are encouraged by the strong consumer acceptance of the more than 100 new products we launched around the world this year and will build on this success with an unprecedented wave of more than 200 new products in 2008," said Bill Johnson, Heinz chairman, president and CEO.
Central Food Retail plans openings
Bangkok: Central Food Retail, which owns two Central Food Hall stores in Thailand, is planning to open further stores in the country this year. "Following the success of the first two Central Food Halls in Bangkok, we are planning to open three more Central Food Halls upcountry in Thailand," said company president Ian Pye. Its second store, situated in Central World Shopping Centre in Bangkok, has been extended from 80,000 sq ft to more than 90,000 sq ft.
Great Atlantic hungry for Pathmark
Montvale, New Jersey: Supermarket group the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company is in talks to acquire rival chain Pathmark Stores for $652.5m (£333m). Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, which owns A&P and Food Emporium, said it was considering a bid of $12.50 a share in cash and stock. The deal, if successful, would create a company with more than 550 stores across the north east of the US.
North America bruises Wessanen
Utrecht: Food company Wessanen has reported a 5% dip in full-year sales to €1.59bn (£1.07bn) on profit up €7m to €32m (£21.5m). Sales were positively influenced by higher sales in Europe but were offset by lower sales in North America, the group said. "The profit margins of all our four business units improved in the fourth-quarter because of a better portfolio mix and good cost control," said Ad Veenhof, chief executive officer of Wessanen.