BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here sought to squash speculation Monday that it is considering possible acquisitions. The speculation apparently arose from a job description posted on the company's website two months ago that sought to fill four middle-management positions from applicants "with an awareness of mergers and acquisitions," John Simley, a corporate spokesman, told SN. "That aspect was buried deep in the job description and was included to help us determine how our retail portfolio might be affected if M&A was involved." He said the four positions were intended 'to look at our existing formats to help maintain better customer relevance." Simley said he was not sure if the positions had been filled. He also said the four positions had nothing to do with published reports speculating on activities by David Wild, a former Tesco executive who joined Wal-Mart in 2004. That speculation posited that Wild was heading a management team based in San Francisco that was looking at developing new, smaller formats for Wal-Mart, including an urban fresh format and a small drug store format. "Wal-Mart is constantly evolving," Simley told SN, "and we're always looking for more innovative operations to serve the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base, so we regularly test new formats to complement our existing stores." He declined to comment specifically on what Wild and his group are working on.
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