Speaking before the Wal-Mart shareholders’ convention in Bentonville, Arkansas, International director John Menzer told The Grocer a team from Wal-Mart was in Russia and was due to report on whether to enter at the end of the year.
He said: “At any one time about 20 countries are on our watch list, but we have now sent a feasibility team to Russia.”
He also said Eastern and
Central Europe offered strong growth opportunities, adding: “Germany is very important. It is the third largest retail economy in the world. We could use it as a launch pad for other markets.”
But suggestions by Wal-Mart chief Lee Scott two weeks ago at ECR Europe in Brussels that Asda could be used as an international brand by its parent were played down by Menzer.
Menzer said: “Asda is a very strong name. It could be a vehicle for growth one day but we just don’t know.”
However, he said he was very proud of the Asda management team, saying it had hit all the financial targets set when Wal-Mart bought it and pointing out that since the acquisition it had moved from number three to number two multiple in the UK.
He added: “We have learned a lot from Asda as we continue to share best practice globally, and have helped Asda on the merchandise and systems side. It has been a great win win.”
>>p31 By George, Asda’s got it
John Wood, Bentonville