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Million Dollar Portfolio / MDPSold: Wal-Mart


Subject:  Foreign Expansion and its Problems Date:  11/7/2010  12:58 AM
Author:  marginalgain Number:  33 of 374

Thanks to Tim Hanson for his interesting and good analysis. But Tim doesn't mention Wal-Mart past failures abroad. WMT experimented with Western Europe and had to exit the market. They closed shops in Germany, as the culture of their stores didn't work there (see here for instance:,,2112746,00.html). Also, as Tim mentions there are very big competitors in the world and Europe is full of them, such as Carrefour, the French retail giant, etc. To WMT's credit, they exited the market they couldn't crack and learnt their lessons. I assume they are applying those lessons to the other markets they are now entering. But to what extent can we be sure that the same problems will not show up again?

They now seem to be interested in emerging markets such as those that are part of the famous BRIC group (Brasil, India, China, but not Russia). Emerging markets are perhaps a better target, but they also have their problems. The same issues that WMT encountered in Germany can probably be found in emerging economies, such as "know your customers." Are these markets mature enough to experience the development of such a retailer as WMT? When WMT started in the US, many retailers were already occupying the place, but WMT came in with a different offer. Is WMT in the same position in the BRIC countries today?

Any comment welcome. Thanks.
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