The company is scaling back the growth of its namesake stores in the U.S. and focusing on remodeling existing locations as it responds to a tough consumer-spending climate.
NEW YORK — Wal-Mart is stealing market share from competitors and is well-positioned for the holiday season, CEO and President Lee Scott told investors Monday.
The company, nevertheless, is scaling back the growth of its namesake stores in the U.S. and focusing on remodeling existing locations as it responds to a tough consumer-spending climate.
Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, told analysts that the company plans to open 191 stores in fiscal 2009 and from 142 to 157 stores in fiscal 2010. That compares to 218 stores opened in fiscal 2008.
Wal-Mart said it is rolling out Christmas shops, which feature wrapping paper and other décor, but will also be more aggressive in designating holiday gifts throughout the store.
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Wal-Mart said it’s focusing on expanding its store-label food business.
Wal-Mart officials noted that their company — considered a barometer of the pulse of the American consumer — continues to see firsthand how the mounting financial crisis, including tightening credit, is putting more strain on its shoppers.
Castro-Wright noted that credit-card payments as a percentage of total payments is down 7.4 percent so far in fiscal 2009.
That means that customers are maxing out on their credit cards, says Castro-Wright. That’s a big reversal from the robust double-digit growth rates in credit cards over the past three year.