Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores laid out plans to jump-start sluggish sales and amp up expansion at its investor meeting in Rogers, Ark., on Wednesday.
The world’s largest retailer said it will focus on smaller-format stores in 2011, with plans to open 185 to 205 new stores in the next fiscal year, compared with 153 stores in the current year, but with the same increase in square footage, 11 million, and similar capital expenditure, $7.5 billion to $8 billion.
The company also said it plans to expand internationally and is working to draw more customers to its Sam’s Club warehouse stores by expanding electronics and jewelry offerings, including selling Apple's iPhone and iPad in some clubs by the holiday season.
International expansion plans include "strategic acquisitions in large, high growth markets," according to international chief Doug McMillon. He said the company needs to grow in Japan and would like to grow in Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
CEO Mike Duke told investors that Wal-Mart is forecasting a rise in fourth-quarter same-store revenue in its U.S. stores after the figure fell for five straight quarters.
U.S. CEO Bill Simon also said the chain will more aggressively display discounts on some items featured in its main aisles rather than discounting as much throughout the store.
"In this environment we should be thriving and we're gearing up to do that," Simon said. Another plan in the works: In about 750 stores, orders will be available for pickup the same day.