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Walmart closes Moscow office, focuses on other emerging markets

Walmart, the retailing giant controlled by the Walton family, announced 13 December that it plans to close its Moscow office, which was set up last year as part of Walmart's plans to expand in Russia.

The company said it had hoped to enter the Russian market via acquisitions, but that it had found no partners with which to pursue this aim.

Doug McMillon, non-family CEO of Walmart International, said: "Since we have decided to enter the market through acquisition, not greenfield development, and since there is no clear acquisition partner in the near term, there is not a business reason to continue our Moscow representative office."

Despite this announcement, Walmart continues to pursue international expansion, particularly in other emerging markets. 

Earlier this month, the world's largest retailer by revenues revealed its plans for expansion in China and in November the company bid for a controlling share in a South Africa-based retail chain Massmart. (Continue reading here)

McMillon reinforced the company's strategy in his statement: "We continue to be excited about our international business, including markets where we already operate such as Brazil, China and India, where we have tremendous growth opportunity."

The Walton family still controls around 40% of Walmart, which had 2009 revenues of $405 billion and prides itself on its slogan: "Saving people money so they can them live better."

Christy Walton – the wife of the late John Walton, who was the son of the founder Sam Walton – is the wealthiest, according to Forbes. Her family's fortune was estimated at $22.5 billion, although she has no management role in the company. 

Jim Walton, the youngest son of Sam Walton, was the second family member on the Forbes billionaire list, with an estimated fortune of $20.7 billion.  

His elder brother Rob Walton (pictured), with an estimated fortune of $19.8 billion, is chairman of Walmart. 

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