By Dow Jones Business News, October 24, 2013, 01:05:00 AM EDT
BEIJING--Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT ) plans to open more Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in China in the coming years,
its executives said, as it expresses commitment to the market despite plans to close some stores there.
Wal-Mart plans to open 110 new stores in China between 2014 and 2016, the company said in a statement. It also plans
to open two more Sam's Club stores next year, adding to its current 10, and said it plans to open more.
In an interview, Wal-Mart Chief Executive Mike Duke said the world's largest retailer by sales remains committed to
the market despite its recent announcement of store closures. He also said the company plans to expand on its e-commerce
with Yihaodian, its online shopping arm there.
"We've got a great journey ahead of us, but we're excited about our progress," said Greg Foran, Wal-Mart'sChina CEO.
Wal-Mart said last week that it planned to close 25 stores in China to refocus its business in the country. Wal-Mart
is still set to open 30 stores this year in China as part of a rollout of new outlets.
The Bentonville, Ark. retailer's executives arrived in Beijing this week to meet with government leaders and key
stakeholders. Mr. Duke was one of nearly two dozen foreign executives who met with China's President Xi Jinping on
Wal-Mart doesn't disclose sales figures for China, but it has faced challenges in the market, which is key to its
international expansion ambitions. The retailer has lost market share in the country over the past few years, with share
of hypermarket sales sliding to 10.9% last year from 11.6% in 2009, according to market research firm Euromonitor
International. Hypermarkets or megamarkets are large stores that sell household goods and items like clothing in
addition to groceries.
With 6,200 stores outside the U.S., Wal-Mart's international operations posted $135 billion in sales in the year that
ended Jan. 31 and have long been seen as the company's most important source of growth. But the growth rate slowed to
7.4% in the most recent fiscal year from 15.2% the year before. Sales at stores open at least a year declined last
quarter in Canada, Japan, Mexico and Central America, while traffic declined in Canada, Brazil and China.
Write to Laurie Burkitt at Laurie.Burkitt@wsj.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.