Two big reasons, the first, according to release from Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas this morning, being that the company has acquired a majority stake in South African wholesaler Massmart. The company owns and operates over 288 wholesale and retail locations across 13 countries in sub-saharan Africa. For Wal-Mart, the acquisition comes as a step in its campaign to increase its international presence, especially efforts to break into markets on the African continent.
According to Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) International President and CEO, Doug McMillon, “As we do in all of our other markets, we will work to serve underserved customers, to help people save money to live better. Just as important, we will grow in this part of the world, and as we do, we expect to create many jobs and support local suppliers. We have a global track record of working directly with small farmers, boosting their income and helping them become more sustainable, and we look forward to bringing those practices to South Africa.”
Victory on a secondary front was achieved today for Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), as this morning the Supreme Court issued a preliminary decision regarding a class action lawsuit against the company featuring over one million employees. The decision; that the suit could not move forward in court due to lack of “glue holding together the alleged reasons,” failure on part of the complainants to provide significant proof, and no evidence that “the company operated under a general policy of discrimination.” The plaintiffs, which could have included over 1 million female employees, alleged that the company encouraged a policy of gender discrimination in the workplace, and regularly treated male employees (in terms of compensations and promotions) more favorably than females.
Although Wal-Mart’s legal victory today was monumental, the company is not fully in the clear, as it could still face smaller class or individual suits from employees involved in the failed mass class-action claim. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) shares are up .42% today.