Wal-Mart pulls out of Germany with $1 billion loss

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Bad news WalMart Fans, the chain is pulling out of Germany.

 

 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, is selling its underperforming German stores to the country's leading retail chain Metro, a major retreat that will cost it about $1 billion.

 

Wal-Mart, which operates 85 hypermarkets across Germany, said on Friday it would incur the roughly $1 billion pretax loss on the deal in the second quarter of its fiscal 2007 year.

 

Wal-Mart entered Germany in 1997 but has been unable to capture market share, hurt by cut-throat competition from rivals such as Metro or discounters like Aldi. Wal-Mart has closed several of its German stores over recent years.

Full release available at Reuters: Wal-Mart pulls out of Germany, sells to Metro

 

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Business Week ran a related story which caught my eye, albeit back in 2005, that catalouged the chain's struggle. Full story here: Wal-Mart: Struggling In Germany

 

 

With discounters already dominating the market, the American giant is in the unaccustomed role of pipsqueak

 

To American eyes, the new ethics manual is standard stuff. But when Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT ) distributed the newly translated code to German employees a few weeks ago, it caused a furor. They read a caution against supervisor-employee relationships as a puritanical ban on interoffice romance, while a call to report improper behavior was taken as an invitation to rat on co-workers. "They have to communicate better," says Ulrich Dalibor, an official at the ver.di service-workers union, which represents German employees of the Bentonville (Arkansas)-based retailer.

 

No kidding. Seemingly surprised Wal-Mart officials said they have nothing against romance -- plenty of Wal-Mart co-workers have married, the company notes. And reporting lawbreaking is just good citizenship, it said. But to no avail.

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I won't shed too many tears but they carry a number of products that no other store does, especially items from other European countries. Metro's selection of non-German items is surprisingly low. It's hardly surprising that their excessively paternalistic and overbearing "ethics manual" caused outrage -- my company's is likewise shite -- but the reason they have that is to be able to fight back one frivolous lawsuit after the next in the US.

 

woof.

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You do need a special card but you just have to have a Gewerbeschein to get one. I can't remember if the card has your photo on it, but you are checked at the entry.

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The card does have your photo on it. Metro is however a large trading company, the cash and carry Metro stores are just part of it. See the website: Metro

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According to this article, they are going to become Real stores. Metro own Real, but you don't need membership. They're pretty similar to Wal-Mart in the things that they sell, as far as I can recall.

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Right, so if you borrowed someone's card to get in, you'd better look a lot like that person, right? Or can a business have a card that any employee can use?

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Looks like Wal-Mart finally got tired of the German Labour laws and Unions. In the US they close stores that threaten to go or have gone Union. Thats how bad they hate them. If the new Min. wage law in Chicago passes then I see them cutting back or pulling out there too..

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Right, so if you borrowed someone's card to get in, you'd better look a lot like that person, right? Or can a business have a card that any employee can use?

You can get a proxy valid for one day only signed by the card holder but you have to pay cash, no debit to the owner's Metro account, no EC. Take ID along. A card issued to a business would have to have the carrier's name on it.

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Over here in Aachen there's a Walmart opposite a Real - and Real really sucks in comparison. So I am not exactly thrilled at the news. As a former resident of Wuppertal (that's where Walmart Germany has/had its HQs) I am also sorry for the people who will no doubt lose their jobs - in a part of Germany where unemployment is a serious issue.

Don't know about other Walmart stores, but here they sure tried to introduce something called customer service - and I enjoyed that. Gone now.

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Customer service? I've had employees cutting into the line in front of me while waiting at Information.

This is common in every supermarket here in Germany. They believe it is their right because they are employees on their break. Just yesterday at my local, there were 10 people waiting on 2 cashiers. One then proceeded to close off, and then cut in on the now 20 people waiting on one cashier to go on a break. Whilst I understand the need to give staff their breaks, this is just over the top.

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I guess the Walmart in Munich's Europe Industriepark will close down totally, since there's a REAL just a km down the road. Too bad really...

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I don't know what everybody expects from Walmart. It is a shit store, selling shit produce at very low prices... Employees get discounts as it is the only way they can afford to actually do any shopping because of the pathetic wage they get. I boycotted Walmart years ago and gladly pay more for my groceries knowing that the qualilty is infinitely better and local communities are being supported

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This is common in every supermarket here in Germany

Yup. And when it does I just drop my stuff down and walk out, with a cheery "I'll leave you to clear that lot up."

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I only went once to WalMart in Germany and it was totally shit - full of cheap nasty stuff and very little specialist american products...

 

Dunno if it is better in the U.S...?!?

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