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Retail Briefs

Bharti Wal-Mart in Startup Mode

Bonafide retailers and business owners” in the Punjab region of India have begun registering for membership in BestPrice Modern Wholesale, the joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The company plans to sign up more than 50,000 “traders, restaurant owners, hoteliers, caterers, fruit and vegetable resellers, kiranas, other retail store owners, offices and institutions,” and “will service both the cash-and-carry stores as well as large retailers like Bharti Retail.”

Bharti Wal-Mart has already opened the first distribution center near Chandigarh; like others planned, it will serve members “within a distance of 100-150 kilometers.”

Wal-Mart Buys Chilean Retailer

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has acquired control of the Chilean retail and financial services powerhouse Distribucion y Servicio, which had $3.8 billion in 2007 revenues. Founded in 1957 by Manuel Ibanez Ojeda, D&S operates more than 180 stores, 10 shopping centers and 85 PRESTO financial services branches, plus the Saitec real estate unit. Banners include Hiper de LIDER hypermarkets, Express de LIDER supermarkets, and convenience chains Super Bodega Acuenta and Ekono.

Wal-Mart obtained 58.2%; Felipe Ibanez Scott and Nicolas Ibanez Scott will together retain 40.1%. Based in Santiago, D&S employs about 34,500 and is the largest food operator in Chile. Enrique Ostale is ceo. Wal-Mart’s global procurement office in Santiago comes under the supervision of Craig Herkert, Wal-Mart evp and ceo of the Americas.

Home Depot Closes Expo, Axes 7,000

Home improvement titan The Home Depot is ending its 18-year experiment in upscale merchandising, closing EXPO as part of a $532 million corporate cutback. Besides 34-unit Expo, HD will close five YardBIRDS stores, two Design Center stores and its seven-unit HD Bath chain. In-store, support and management staff reductions total 7,000, or some 2% of the Home Depot’s 300,000 workers. The $77 billion, 2,274-unit retailer said it will reduce capital ex to about $1 billion in the coming fiscal year and will open 12 stores.

Sears Holdings Trims 300 from HQ

A Sears Holdings spokesperson confirmed to HTT that the company is cutting 300 headquarters and support personnel here, in Troy, Mich., and in New York. The measure came “after careful consideration of our business organization needs,” said the spokesperson, who told HTT that the amount and timing of charges to be taken will be announced when Sears states its Q4 earnings in the coming weeks.

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