Walmart brand to be dropped from supermarkets in Brazil

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Walmart store is pictured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Private equity firm Advent International Corp will drop the Walmart Inc WMT.N brand from supermarkets it acquired last year in Brazil by June 2020, the Brazilian retailer said in a statement on Monday.

The retailer itself will also be renamed to Grupo BIG from Walmart Brasil, it said.

The rebranding comes roughly one year after the world’s biggest retailer sold 80% of its Brazilian operations to Advent, partially exiting an underperforming business and taking a non-cash charge of roughly $4.5 billion.

Nearly 100 stores currently using the Walmart brand will be rebranded to BIG and BIG Bompreço, regional brands Walmart already used in the past. Another 27 Walmart stores will be turned into cash-and-carry stores Maxxi and membership-only retail chain Sam’s Club.

The rebranding is likely to yield operating savings to the retailer, as the Brazilian supermarket chain currently pays royalties to Walmart for the use of its brands. Still, Sam’s Club will continue to be used.

Grupo BIG, which has 550 markets, said in the statement ten new Sam’s Club stores will be opened by August 2020. It added that it will invest 1.2 billion reais in its stores in the next 18 months.

Reporting by Carolina Mandl