BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 26 -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), today announced an agreement under which Wal-Mart has purchased a 35 percent interest in Bounteous Company Ltd. (BCL) which operates hypermarkets in China under the Trust-Mart banner. As a leading hypermarket operator, BCL has 101 Trust-Mart retail stores in 34 cities in China.
"Through this investment in Trust-Mart we have the opportunity to expand our presence in China, one of the world's fastest growing retail markets," said Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Michael Duke. "This is an important step in bringing additional scale to our China retail business and enabling us to do what we do best -- serving our customers with improved service, high quality and innovative products, and lower prices."
Trust-Mart Chairman John Yu added, "This alliance positions Trust-Mart to offer even higher levels of customer service to Trust-Mart's loyal customers as we benefit from Wal-Mart's expertise in logistics and operations. It also will give our suppliers new opportunities to expand in China and potentially become part of Wal-Mart's global vendor network."
Trust-Mart stores, which have more than 31,000 employees, will continue to operate under the Trust-Mart banner and both companies plan to continue new store expansion. Subject to certain conditions, Wal-Mart will acquire ownership control in the future.
Wal-Mart China operates 68 Supercenters, 3 SAM'S CLUBs, and 2 Neighborhood Markets in 36 cities in China. It has more than 37,000 associates and was recently cited by the China Chain Store & Franchise Association as one of the "2006 China Retail Industry's Best Employers."
Financial advisors were Credit Suisse for Wal-Mart and UBS Investment Bank for Trust-Mart.
Trust-Mart is one of the leading hypermarkets in China. The first Trust- Mart opened in 1996 and was one of the pioneers of the country's hypermarket industry. Today, there are 101 hypermarkets in 34 cities across 16 provinces and municipalities, representing one of the widest geographical reaches in China's hypermarket sector. Trust-Mart has a strong market position in several key urban markets, including Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen and Shanghai. Trust-Mart employs over 31,000 people.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The Company's securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT.
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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