Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced plans Friday at its annual shareholders' meeting to leverage capital resources through a strategy designed to improve returns, productivity, and sales within its U.S. stores. The plans include moderating the growth of its U.S. supercenters.
The result of this strategy will be a growth program of between 190 and 200 new U.S. supercenters during this fiscal year and approximately 170 supercenters each year for the next three fiscal years.
For fiscal year 2008, the 190-to-200 range includes approximately 70 relocations and 40 expansions of discount stores into supercenters. In October 2006, the company had announced that its fiscal year 2008 growth plans included between 265 and 270 supercenters in the United States. Approximately 80 of the supercenters originally scheduled to open in January 2008 now will open in early fiscal year 2009.
In addition, under the leadership of Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and CEO for Wal-Mart Stores U.S., a three-year plan is being implemented to drive returns and sales through a strategic approach to improve customer relevancy in operations and merchandise. This is the second year of the three-year plan.
"Through our strategy, we are pursuing high return opportunities by focusing on markets where our customer segmentation approach offers the best opportunity to create a more competitive position for Wal-Mart and drive higher comparable store sales," says Castro-Wright. "In addition, our U.S. plan includes a variety of initiatives designed to improve labor productivity and enhance margins."