Walmart will not use its acquisition of Massmart as the springboard for a phase of rapid empire building across Africa.

International chief Doug McMillon said the retail giant would look to expand on a city-by-city basis, rather than country by country.

“You see a market like Nigeria and it feels like a big opportunity,” McMillon told the Financial Times. “But we’ve learned in the past few months we really need to think about it a city at a time as opposed to a country at a time.”

Pointing to the retailer’s experiences in emerging markets such as China and India, he said: “They use more manpower, more muscle and sweat, to move freight in some of the emerging markets than we do in some of the developed markets.”

His comments come after the Asda parent last week landed regulatory clearance for its takeover of South Africa-based Massmart. It plans to open 150 new stores in Africa.

Meanwhile, Walmart has announced plans for a $15bn (£9.14bn) share buyback scheme – matching a similar buyback implemented last year.

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