Wal-Mart Rings Up Higher Sales

Wal-Mart Stores said Tuesday that September same-store sales registered a healthy 9.5 percent gain. Separately, the large discount retail chain announced plans for faster expansion.

In its 1999 fiscal year starting Feb 1, Wal-Mart (WMT) said it will open about 40 new discount stores and about 150 new Supercenters.

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"This represents a substantial increase in the Supercenter expansion rate reflecting strong consumer acceptance and financial results from the format," the company said.

Ninety of the new Supercenters will involve the relocation or expansion of existing discount stores. About 60 will be established at new locations.

The company will also open 10 to 15 new SAM'S Clubs, including six relocations. In addition, Wal-Mart will remodel about 140 of the existing SAM'S Club stores and expand one unit.

Internationally, Wal-Mart said it plans to develop 75 to 80 new retail units in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Korea, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

All together, the expansion would represent an increase of about 34 million square feet, or a 9 percent growth in store square footage.

"This growth is significant and underscores solid performances throughout our major divisions -- Wal-Mart stores, SAM'S Club and International," said David Glass, chief executive.

As of Sept. 30, the company had 1,879 Wal-Mart stores, 512 Supercenters and 446 SAM'S Clubs in the United States.

Internationally, the company operated units in Argentina (13), Brazil (9), Canada (147),Germany (21), Mexico (406), and Puerto Rico (14), and under joint venture agreements in China (3) and Korea (4).

Written By Jeffry Bartash