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    Wal-Mart Announces Growth Plans

    "Project Impact" remodeling campaign gains speed; retailer focuses on improving returns from supercenter format.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Walmart Stores Inc. announced its global plans for store and club growth in 2010 at its annual conference for the investment community Thursday.

    "Our plan for growth is clearly intended to increase shareholder value," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and CFO. "In the United States, we're building new stores and accelerating the pace of our remodels because they have been so successful at winning and retaining customers. We're stepping up growth in our international operations to take advantage of growing economies and opportunities in emerging markets, such as China and Brazil."

    Walmart's international portfolio includes a variety of formats, from supercenters to small grocery stores. New international stores are expected to add approximately 23 million square feet in fiscal year 2010, and approximately 25 million more square feet in fiscal year 2011. These projections are based on the existing store base and do not include possible acquisitions.

    In the United States, Walmart said it will continue to focus on further improving the returns of its supercenter format through remodels of existing stores and by accelerating growth of new store designs capable of generating greater returns from current assets.

    By November 2009, Walmart U.S. will have completed "Project Impact" remodels at more than 30 percent of its 3,538 stores. By the end of fiscal year 2012, approximately 70 percent of its U.S. stores, including newly-constructed stores, are expected to be updated under the Project Impact initiative.

    "As part of our plan to accelerate growth, we are investing capital in fiscal year 2011 for stores that are planned to open in fiscal year 2012, and we're stepping up the remodels of our existing store base," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, Walmart. "The remodeling of our existing store base is important because the investments are delivering strong sales performance, excellent customer response and higher returns."

    The company's Sam's Club division plans to add between five and 10 new, expanded or relocated clubs in fiscal year 2011, after adding a projected 15 clubs this fiscal year.

    Sam's Club plans to remodel between 50 and 55 clubs by year-end, and expects to remodel between 70 and 90 clubs next fiscal year.

    Overall, in the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2010, the company expects to add approximately 38 million sq. ft. globally, compared to about 44 million sq. ft. added in the prior year (excluding square footage added by acquisition). Wal-Mart expects to increase global square footage by approximately 37 million sq. ft. in fiscal year 2011.

    -- Nielsen Business Media

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