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Wal-Mart to accelerate growth at small stores

Oct. 11, 2012 @ 12:33 AM

NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart is accelerating the expansion of small stores, particularly its Neighborhood Market stores, as it looks to compete with a variety of rivals from dollar stores to drug chains.

"This gives us the opportunity to build more stores for less money," Bill Simon, president of Wal-Mart's U.S. division told Wall Street analysts at a meeting near its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

Simon said it plans to have 500 Neighborhood Market stores and 12 Express stores by fiscal 2016.

As of the end of July, Wal-Mart had 10 Express stores and had ramped up its Neighborhood Market concept to 217 locations.

The focus on small stores is part of Wal-Mart's overall strategy to continue increasing sales while becoming more efficient with its capital expenditures across the globe. Its U.S. namesake business is roaring back, thanks to re-emphasizing rock-bottom low prices, and officials says they want to apply that same discipline to how it approaches its store expansion.

In its international business, which accounts for about a quarter of its business, Wal-Mart reiterated that it will be slowing expansion growth in China and Brazil as it works hard to make those stores more productive. And while it won't miss an important opportunity to make an acquisition overseas, it's primarily focusing on existing markets.

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