Wal-Mart China Expands On the Ground and Over the Web
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) made an appearance at another press event in Beijing on Thursday, where the retail giant confirmed its China plans the company also relayed to investors and analysts in Bentonville, Arkansas, just a week earlier.
According to Reuters, Wal-Mart plans on opening up to 110 facilities in China between 2014 and 2016 on top of the 30 it has already opened this year because it recognizes the country as a key component to its international business. The U.S. retailer already has 398 China-based stores, but it is determined to continue its furious expansion in the country, which started in 2007.
The problem with China, however, is that its retail sector is shifting, and Wal-Mart actually has lost market share in the region over the past few years. While the company’s hypermarket sales were up to 11.6 percent in 2009, they slid to 10.9 percent this year, and the retailer is desperate to stem those losses and revive success in the country.
That’s why, in addition to opening the 110 new stores, Wal-Mart will close 15 to 30 others over the next 18 months. Closing them will “enable the team to focus on the healthy core” — that’s the rationale Scott Price, president of Wal-Mart’s Asia division, explained to investors in Arkansas last week, and it looks like he’s sticking with his story.