Retail stocks have been on the rise today with news that store sales were up last week, nearly 10% above the week before and up 3% year-over-year. And Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has been no exception to today’s upward trend, gaining 0.11% today. However, the retailer has been in the news for more than just its modest gains today.
Wal-Mart has signed an agreement with the government of Shanghai to establish an e-commerce headquarters in the city as parts of its strategy to gain a larger share of the retail market in China. Last month, Wal-Mart announced plans to buy a minority stake in Chinese online retailer Yihaodian. Online sales in China have been expanding rapidly and are expected to match online sales in the U.S. within the next few years. Last year, Wal-Mart’s sales in China totaled $7.5 billion in 330 stores, just 2% of its $420 billion in global revenue.
And China isn’t the only emerging market Wal-Mart has looked to for growth opportunities. Also helping the retail giant’s expansion, this time just north of the border, is competitor, Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT). In January, Target acquired leasehold interests for 220 Canadian retail properties, but recently sold 39 of those store sites to Wal-Mart. And Wal-Mart also recently purchased a 51% stake in Massmart, a South-African based retailer, and has already begun a new marketing campaign promoting lower prices. The sale is mutually beneficial to both retailers, allowing Massmart to create 15,000 jobs over the next five years, while allowing Wal-Mart entrance into a highly regulated and restricted market.
Competitors to Watch: Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COST), Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG), BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. (NYSE:BJ), Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO), Gordmans Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:GMAN), Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Bed, Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Fred’s, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED).
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