BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here is not considering possible mergers and acquisitions, despite an ad posted on its website that sought middle managers with “an awareness of M&A.”
The ad was apparently the source of recent reports speculating that Wal-Mart might be seeking acquisition targets in the U.S.
John Simley, a chain spokesman, told SN, “That aspect [of the ad] was buried deep in the job description and was included to help us determine how our retail portfolio might be affected if M&A was involved.”
He said the people hired for the positions would enable Wal-Mart “to look at our existing formats to help maintain better customer relevance.”
Though the ad ran two months ago, Simley said he did not know if the positions had been filled.
He also said the four positions had no connection with published reports speculating on activities being led by David Wild, a former Tesco executive who has been with Wal-Mart since 2004.
That speculation, reported last month in the Wall Street Journal, suggested Wild was heading a management team based in San Francisco that was looking at developing new, smaller formats for Wal-Mart, including an urban fresh store and a small drug store format.
“Wal-Mart is constantly evolving,” Simley told SN, “and we're always looking for more innovative operations to serve the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base, so we regularly test new formats to complement our existing stores.”
He declined to comment specifically on what Wild and his group might be working on or why they are based in San Francisco.
The Journal article suggested Wal-Mart was developing the new fresh format specifically to compete with Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, a convenience-oriented, small-format store that the British retailer is expected to begin rolling out aggressively across several states in the U.S. Southwest later this year.