Wal-Mart drives into Latin America
BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS: Wal-Mart has announced plans for expansion in South America, with 80-90 new stores in Brazil and 12-15 new stores in Argentina to be opened in 2009. The expansion in Brazil, which will cost R$1.6bn-R$1.8bn (£531m-£597m) is the biggest investment Wal-Mart has made since entering the country 14 years ago. The new store openings will create more than 9,000 jobs.

Ahold refreshes US supermarkets
AMSTERDAM: Ahold has announced it is to refresh its Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover supermarkets in the US with a new store look and new logos. The chains are also rolling out new prepared foods ranges, an expanded own-label offering, updated store signage and new websites. “The announcement is a further step in Ahold’s global strategy to create powerful local consumer brands,” said Ahold CEO John Rishton. “These new initiatives are an important part of the value improvement programme under way at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover.”

Longer opening bid sparks protest
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA: An application to allow supermarkets in the Gold Coast tourist area to open for 18 hours a day has sparked fury among independent traders, according to reports. New opening hours would allow supermarkets including Woolworths and Coles to open from 6am to midnight. Independent retailers, concerned the move could put them out of business are being backed by the Gold Coast Combined Chamber of Commerce. “What tourist is going to get up at six o’clock in the bloody morning to go shopping? They’d rather be in the surf,” said chamber secretary Bob Janssen.

Billa set to buy Nyam-Nyam
MOSCOW: Billa, a retail chain partly owned by Germany’s Rewe Group, has agreed to buy Russian retail chain Nyam-Nyam for $100m (£54.3m), according a Russian newspaper report. The deal could be closed shortly, the paper said, citing sources from the two Russian companies that had also bid for the retailer. Nyam-Nyam has 12 retail outlets in Moscow and plans to open two more. Meanwhile in Prague, the Czech competition watchdog has cleared Rewe AG to acquire the supermarket chain Plus Discount on condition it sells some Plus stores.

Feed costs bruise Smithfield Foods
SMITHFIELD, VIRGINIA: The world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, has reported a quarterly loss on its pig unit of nearly $40m (£21.8m) partly due to higher feed costs. The loss in its pig unit more than offset improved trading in pork processing, which improved due to strong exports. The company reported an overall loss of $12.6m (£6.9m) for its fiscal first quarter to 27 July, compared with a profit of $54.6m (£29.7m) a year earlier. “We continue to be challenged by high input costs aggravated by the switch of crops into biofuels.