LONDON – Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, said Friday it didn’t want to wait for Germany’s economy to recover, agreeing to sell all 85 of its hypermarkets in the country to Metro AG.

Wal-Mart said it will record a $1 billion charge before taxes during the second quarter on the deal.

Neither Wal-Mart nor Metro disclosed deal terms, but because Metro’s recording an undisclosed gain, it follows that the deal must have been “at a very low purchase price,” said Carmen Hummel, a senior credit analyst at German bank HVB.

The 85 stores generated sales of around $2.5 billion in 2005, Metro said.

Wal-Mart lost as much as $250 million a year from the German operations, according to published reports.

-MarketWatch

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