A Bit of Schadenfreude


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday it plans to sell its 85 stores in Germany to rival Metro AG, a move that effectively ends a nearly decade-long effort by the world’s largest retailer to crack the market in Europe’s biggest economy.

Terms were not disclosed, but Wal-Mart said it expects to incur a loss before taxes of about $1 billion related to the deal in its second quarter.\

Sy Schlueter, chief executive of investment house Copernicus in Hamburg, said Wal-Mart had trouble winning over German consumers, who tend to be very price-focused and would rather drive to a different store if they know they can buy something cheaper. National discounters such as Lidl GmbH and Aldi Einkauf GmbH put the heat on Wal-Mart’s sales, he said, by offering the same products at competitive prices.

Furthermore, Schlueter said consumers rejected some of Wal-Mart’s signature features, like stores outside of town centers, employees required to smile and heartily greet customers, or baggers at checkouts.