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    Mexican Retailer Seeks Partner to Compete with Walmex

    MEXICO CITY - A director at Mexico's second-largest retailer, Controladora Comercial Mexicana (Comerci), says the company needs a buyer or investor to help it compete against Wal-Mart de Mexico, Reuters reports.

    MEXICO CITY - A director at Mexico's second-largest retailer, Controladora Comercial Mexicana (Comerci), says the company needs a buyer or investor to help it compete against Wal-Mart de Mexico, Reuters reports.

    Gustavo Campomanes, corporate treasury director, said Comerci must consolidate or form partnerships with foreign companies to compete successfully. "That's the way the market is going," Campomanes said in an interview. "(Walmex) has all the resources in the world to compete. We realize we need to do something."

    Comerci executives are considering several options, from forming alliances with other retailers for purchasing merchandise to selling the company outright. Campomanes said the 70-year-old family-run business would prefer to sell a minority stake, perhaps with an option to sell a controlling stake later, according to Reuters.

    Walmex, majority owned by the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of the U.S., launched a $463 million expansion program last year and opened 61 new stores and restaurants to increase sales floor space by 13 percent.

    Comerci, with 222 outlets including Comercial Mexicana, Bodega and Mega stores and California Restaurantes, increased sales floor space by 4 percent last year, according to Reuters. This year it will invest around $140 million in capital expenses to continue expanding and remodeling, and to construct a $40 million distribution center.

    Mexican retailers complain that Walmex's distribution center allows it to negotiate with suppliers and undercut the competition's prices.

    Comerci launched a new price strategy this year aimed at beating Walmex at its own game, while also promoting the quality of its merchandise.

    Last year there were rumors of an agreement between Comerci and one of several international retailers, including French supermarket giant Carrefour, but no deal ever materialized.

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