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Business deals

Walmart finds US-style retail a tough sell in Japan

Amazon stands in the way of Seiyu's digital push under KKR and Rakuten

Wally Bockl, vice president of fresh foods at Walmart Japan, promotes Angus Beef at a press conference in 2016. (Photo by Masayuki Nakagawa)

TOKYO -- Walmart's decision to sell 85% of Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu represents an acknowledgment that an American-style strategy focusing on low prices and efficiency failed to resonate with Japanese consumers.

Judith McKenna, CEO of Walmart International, told Nikkei that the sale to KKR and Japanese e-tailer Rakuten showed that Walmart was thinking flexibly about Seiyu's shareholder structure amid a trend in the global supermarket industry toward a community-based approach.

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