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Don Quijote shows interest in buying supermarket chain Seiyu

File photo taken July 12, 2018, in Tokyo shows supermarket chain Seiyu's logo. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The president of Japanese discount retailer Don Quijote Holdings Co. expressed interest Monday in buying supermarket chain Seiyu GK from Walmart Inc. as it seeks to expand business amid intensifying competition in the retail sector.

"I'm interested if (Walmart) is serious about selling," Koji Ohara said during a business strategy forum in Tokyo. "It depends on the content but if it's selling, I'd like to carefully examine (the conditions)."

Sources close to the matter said last month that Walmart has decided to sell the troubled Tokyo-headquartered supermarket chain and has already been in talks with some retailers and investment funds.

"(Seiyu) has many stores at locations where it is now hard to get," Ohara said. Seiyu said in July it has around 335 outlets across the country.

As Don Quijote has forged a capital tie-up with FamilyMart

Uny Holdings Co. in 2017, acquiring a 40 percent stake in its unit Uny Co., buying Seiyu would make it one of the largest retail groups in Japan.

Walmart is seeking to sell Seiyu, which was made a wholly owned unit in 2008, as the Japanese retailer faces difficulties to turn the business around despite restructuring efforts, including job cuts and closures of unprofitable outlets, amid harsh competition from online retailers, the sources said.

Walmart first sealed a capital tie-up with then struggling supermarket operator Seiyu in 2002.

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