Stonetown Mall is the latest in a series of malls to be sold off by the Chinese government to boost domestic consumption, and the latest to be snapped up by Walmart.
Stonetrown Mall, a shopping mall in the western suburb of Stonetrow, was sold to Walmart for $2.8 billion, and has now been converted into a Walmart store.
Advertisement Advertisement It was originally owned by the Stonetons family, who had bought it from the local council in the late 1980s.
But the sale has been a mixed success.
“It’s been very disappointing for the Stetsons,” Stoneton spokesman Peter Brown said.
“We’re still waiting for the final agreement with Walmart, but it’s a bit of a shock.”
Stonetunians are not alone in their disappointment.
“They just wanted to take advantage of their mall,” Mr Brown said of the mall’s former owners.
“So now it’s going to be a big Walmart for the Chinese.”
Stetson mall, the most iconic shopping mall around, will be the first in a growing series of stores to be converted into Walmart stores.
Image: AP Image caption Stonetree Mall in the west will become a Walmart in China.
Image caption It is unclear whether Walmart will still be able to operate the mall as a shopping centre.
Image copyright AP Image copyright Reuters Image caption The former mall of Stetsown Mall in Melbourne was a popular shopping destination in the early 2000s.
Image source: AP “It is a very difficult thing for the community, the Stetons, to have the mall closed, but they just want to take it out of their hands.”
Walmart has said it plans to use the mall for retail and research.
“As a matter of fact, we will be opening the doors of our Stetspark mall to Walmart stores, as part of our corporate engagement efforts in China,” Walmart said in a statement.
Walmart is now the biggest player in the Chinese market for retail, but Mr Brown is not convinced that the sale will help the mall or the local community.
“I think it’s probably a waste of money to buy a mall in a very expensive part of the world,” he said.
Walmart’s Chinese partners said they were “optimistic” the sale would “make Stetsmarket’s life better”.
“We think the acquisition of Stetown Mall will bring much-needed economic benefits to the community,” said Stetspool Partners CEO Liu Zhen.
“The mall will serve as a focal point for a number of local businesses, including retail, restaurant and hotel, and support tourism, development and community development.”