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Wal-Mart’s U.S. same-store sales have remained sluggish for at least a year. (Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)
Wal-Mart’s U.S. same-store sales have remained sluggish for at least a year. (Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)

Wal-Mart replaces U.S. business head with Asia chief Add to ...

Wal-Mart Stores Inc replaced its U.S. business head Bill Simon with Asia chief Greg Foran to turn around its largest business, where sales have been sluggish for at least a year.

Wal-Mart shares fell 1 per cent in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Foran, 53, will assume his new role on Aug. 9 and Simon will be “transitioning out the company,” Wal-Mart said in a statement on Thursday.

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Simon, who has headed the world’s largest retailer’s U.S. business since 2010, will be consulting for the company for six months, Wal-Mart said.

A 35-year retail veteran, Foran joined Wal-Mart in October 2011 and became the chief executive of Walmart China within six months. Two years later, he was made the head of the company’s Asia business.

Foran joins Wal-Mart’s U.S. business at a time the company is struggling to attract its main low-income customers, who are grappling with high unemployment rates and a rise in taxes and fuel prices.

In the first quarter, the company posted its weakest sales growth in five years and its full-year profit forecast was disappointing.

Wal-Mart said it would announce Foran’s replacement at a later date.

The company’s shares were trading at $76.38.

The stock has fallen 1.6 per cent in the year to Wednesday’s close, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen around 10 per cent.

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