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Walmart Scales Back Sales Growth Expectations

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pulled back its expectations for revenue growth during the current fiscal year in the face of a tough global economic environment, the Associated Press reported. The company predicts annual sales will increase by 2 percent to 3 percent, instead of going up by 3 percent to 5 percent as it expected a year ago.

Walmart announced this change during its annual analysts' meeting, where the retailer also discussed its spending reduction on physical stores as it works to halve the store growth of its supercenter locations. Only 60 to 70 new supercenters are expected next year vs. the 120 planned to open this year.

Walmart is also increasing investment in online operations.

"This is an exciting time for Walmart as there are so many new ways to serve customers. Exceeding customer expectations has always been our goal, and we have short- and long-term opportunities to do that even better," stated Wal-Mart Stores President and CEO Doug McMillon.

"We'll change the mix of our capital spend next year to provide greater access, while continuing to focus on price leadership, service and a broad assortment. We'll give customers the choices they want and need in ways that only Walmart can," he continued.

The company now plans to spend $10.4 billion to $11.4 billion in capital expenditures on its physical stores during the fiscal year that starts Feb. 1, 2015, down from the $11.6 billion to $12 billion in capital expenditures planned for the current fiscal year.

Meanwhile, Walmart is conducting a major review of its U.S. business. Investors will receive an update on its plans early next year.

"We'll give customers the choices they want and need by integrating digital and physical retail," McMillion said. "We won't be just a store on the street. We'll support our customers' lives with them in the driver's seat, to save them money and time."

Also on Walmart's list of goals is increasing business at its discount stores, which have not seen sales growth over the last six quarters. This segment of the company accounts for 60 percent of Walmart's $473.1 billion in total sales.

Approximately 180 to 200 new Neighborhood Market stores are planned for the next fiscal year, up from the 170 scheduled to open this year.

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