BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here said yesterday it plans to increase its investment in store remodelings over the next two years — with plans to remodel all U.S. stores over the next five years — while decreasing spending on new stores and reducing the number of new-store openings.
Speaking at the company’s annual analyst and investor conference here, Bill Simon, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said Wal-Mart U.S. will reduce overall capital spending this year by approximately 33% — allocating between $5.8 billion and $6.4 billion this year, compared with $9.1 billion spent in fiscal 2008. Of the total, about $4 billion will be spent opening 166 new stores, compared with $6.8 billion last year for 191 new units, while remodeling will account for approximately $1 billion, compared with $700 million last year.
Jack Sinclair, executive vice president, grocery, said Wal-Mart intends to be more competitive with conventional grocers. “The price gap between us and them is already widening, and we are working on widening the gap further in key markets, [while] at store level, we intend to reinforce our price image by featuring bold displays of single products with single price points whose value is very clear to customers.”
According to Andrea Thomas, senior vice president, private brands, Wal-Mart will relaunch its Great Value line during the first quarter of next year with improved value and quality, including a package redesign. Of 5,500 Great Value items tested against national-brand equivalents, she said Wal-Mart is reformulating 1,200 items, including cold cereals, cookies and yogurt.
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