Wal-Mart aims to beat industry growth pace

Updated: 2012-02-15 11:12

By Li Woke (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Wal-Mart Stores Inc expects its China business, which has a new president and chief executive officer, to grow faster than the industry as a whole, a company executive said.

It was the first public comment on the company's future in the Chinese mainland by the world's largest retailer since the new appointment was announced.

Last week, Wal-Mart named Greg Foran as president and CEO of its China unit. Foran, currently senior vice-president for Wal-Mart International, will assume his new roles March 1, according to the retailing giant.

"China is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. We want to not only keep pace with the market growth, but we would like to - over time - grow market share. (Foran's) target will be around growing faster than the market," Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart International, told China Daily on Monday in Beijing.

"The first thing is the quality of stores we already have," McMillon said."Second: Add some new stores, continue the pace of new store openings. And third: What Wal-Mart is interested in is also e-commerce," he added.

Figures from Euromonitor International, a London-based consumer market research company, showed grocery retailing in China in 2010 grew 9 percent to 3.17 trillion yuan ($500 billion). Grocery retailing in the United States grew only 2 percent last year to $938 billion.

Euromonitor said the Chinese retail industry is expected to exceed $1.4 trillion this year, and continued gains will be seen in disposable incomes and consumption, with a high annual growth rate of 10 percent.

McMillon said of Foran: "He is one of the best retailers in the world. He understands this business and customers very well. For this moment in time, for the next few years, there is not a better person in the world to come run this business and take it to the next level than Greg."

A 30-year retail veteran, Foran joined the company in October. He previously had a retail career in New Zealand and Australia, where he was to head of Woolworths' supermarket division and held several senior roles in that group. His experience includes operations, merchandising and marketing.