Out of Control Policy Blog

Germans Boot the Box

Lonely hearts in Germany can no longer count on Wal-Mart hookups, because the Biggest Box is pulling out of Deutschland.

The reason? Customers decided they didn't want it and it went away, a much more civilized process than what typically happens in the states where politicos, judges, or 51 percent of voters deny choices to others:

    Wal-Mart said on July 28 it would exit Germany after eight years and $1 billion in losses, defeated by Aldi Group and privately-owned Lidl, homegrown discounters which rule the segment in Germany. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based chain is selling its 85 German stores to Metro AG, the country's biggest retailer, for an undisclosed amount.

    The German rout follows failure in South Korea. Wal-Mart in May sold its 16 stores there to Seoul-based Shinsegae Co, the country's biggest discounter.

    Even in the UK, where shopping habits and language are similar, the chain is struggling. Its Asda supermarket group trails market leader Tesco Plc, which gained 1.2 percentage points in market share in the past year, compared to just 0.1 percentage point for the folks from Bentonville. Tesco, with 31.5% of the British market, has almost twice Asda's 16.6% share.

Article here.

Take heart, WM haters, the difficulty the giant retailer seems to have in appealing to different cultures may one day prove to be the factor that stops it from spreading everywhere.

Related: South Koreans Boot the Box

Ted Balaker is Producer


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