American retail group Walmart is selling its Seiyu Japan supermarket chain.
The Nikkei Business Daily reported that the firm is currently approaching potential buyers with a price tag that could reach 300 – 500 billion yen (US$2.7 – $4.5 billion). The move is being perceived as a potential outright withdrawal from Japan and a chance for the firm to refocus on higher potential markets in China and India.
Other major departures from Japan in the industry during the last decade include Tesco and Carrefour. While a developed nation with a high standard of living, Japan has little economic growth due to a declining population and almost zero immigration.
Supermarket chains in the Japanese retail market are under threat from convenience stores (increasingly a priority for retailers as a growth driver) and online traders (Walmart itself has recently launched an online grocery platform with Rakuten), as well as traditionally suffering from significant overheads.
The firm recently sold 80 per cent of its underperforming operations in Brazil.