November 5, 2001,
Wal-Mart's German branch improving
At last week's UBS Warburg's Global Consumer Conference in New York, Wal-Mart discussed its international division, its "best performing division this year," said Jay Fitzsimmons, senior vp and treasurer. Regarding its operations in Germany, which Wal-Mart entered in 1998 with the purchase of Wertkauf, Fitzsimmons said, "This was a fixer-upper." He continued, "We said it was going to take three years to be profitable." The problems Wal-Mart faced there were not consumer issues, he said, but issues that the company caused. Now, however, the company is seeing improvements in its German stores, which have been accomplishing some of the higher comps internationally for the company, he said. "We're executing better in that market, and we will be profitable in the near term."
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