Tokyo Wal-Mart Stores announced Tuesday it will make Seiyu Ltd. a wholly owned unit. The world’s largest retailer said it seeks the flexibility it needs to turn around the long-unprofitable Japanese supermarket operator Seiyu, Japan’s fifth-biggest retailer by sales.
According to Wal-Mart, the move received approval at its shareholders meeting earlier Tuesday, enabling Wal-Mart to buy the remaining stake it doesn’t already own in Seiyu. The approval cleared the way for Wal-Mart to boost its stake in Seiyu to 100% from about 96%. Seiyu has struggled in the intensely competitive Japanese market since Wal-Mart first invested in it in 2002 and hasn’t made a net profit on an annual basis since then.