As it continues to restructure its international presence, Walmart Inc. has agreed to sell its business in Argentina to Grupo de Narváez, a South American retail group. No financial terms were released.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart said it will continue to support the business through transition services and sourcing agreements under the new ownership, but will not retain an equity stake.
Grupo de Narváez, which has retail operations in Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay, will bring strong local expertise that will position the business to thrive, the companies said.
Under Fernando Minaudo, CEO of Grupo de Narváez CEO, the new owners of Walmart Argentina stores will continue to drive long-term growth for the business in Argentina’s dynamic retail environment. The company will remain one of Argentina’s largest employers and will continue to work closely with suppliers to provide the best value for customers, maintaining its commitment to supporting domestic suppliers and small businesses. Dolores Fernandez Lobbe will continue to support the business through a transition period, after which she will move into a new role within Walmart.
“We are very proud and excited about this new investment,” said Minaudo. “We share the same values: a customer-centric philosophy, focus on operational excellence and commitment to the communities in which we operate. The company’s performance and dedication of its incredible associates through the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the fundamental strength and resilience of the business, and we are thrilled to support the team, drive long-term growth and create new opportunities for associates and suppliers across Argentina.”
With this deal, Grupo de Narváez consolidates its presence in nine South American countries with 656 stores.
Walmart Argentina started operating in 1995, with the launch of its first shop in Avellaneda. Since that time, the business has grown to more than 90 stores and 9,000 associates under the Changomas, Mi Changomas, Walmart Supercenter and Punto Mayorista banners. The Changomas, Mi Changomas and Punto Mayorista banners will continue to serve customers in Argentina, following the transaction. Walmart Supercenters will be rebranded following a transition period.
“We are very proud of our Argentina business and associates as they’ve led and shown resilience throughout this year serving customers when they needed them most,” said Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International, said. “We are excited by the local retail expertise the new owners bring to this already strong business, and we believe this deal creates the right structure to help it truly flourish for many years.”
Walmart operates approximately 11,500 stores under 56 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries. However, the retail giant has been re-examining its global business over the years, pulling out of Germany and South Korea in the 2000s, and selling 80% of its Brazilian operations to a private equity firm.
More recently, this past October, Walmart sold its majority ownership in Asda Group Ltd., its United Kingdom grocery subsidiary, to EG Group founders the Issa brothers and U.K. private-equity firm TDR Capital in a deal valued at £6.8 billion ($8.79 billion). The company is retaining an equity stake in Asda, with an ongoing commercial relationship and a seat on the supermarket chain’s board.