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Wal-Mart Unveils New Sam's Club Concept; Slows Supercenter Growth

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Wal-Mart has a new concept coming for Hispanic shoppers.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Sam's Club division is opening a new type of warehouse club aimed at attracting Hispanic shoppers with an expanded selection of products from Mexico.

The club, to be called Mas Club, will be opened in Houston the first half of 2009.

"Our objective is to create an additional shopping choice that provides currently unavailable value for families, restaurant owners, convenience stores and more," said Doug McMillon, president and chief executive of Sam's Club, in a statement.

At the same time, however, the company is once again slowing its growth plans.

Analysts are watching to see if Wal-Mart can keep its momentum going amid the threat of a global recession. While Castro-Wright provided an update on its U.S. business, Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe is expected to outline expansion and capital spending plans for the entire business on Tuesday.

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Wal-Mart's U.S. division plans to open 191 stores in the current fiscal year, which ends in early 2009, and 142 to 157 stores in the next fiscal year, Castro-Wright said. The company opened 218 U.S. stores in fiscal 2008.

Wal-Mart also plans $5.8 billion to $6.4 billion in capital spending this fiscal year for its U.S. division, down from $9.1 billion last year. In fiscal 2010, it plans to spend $6.3 billion to $6.8 billion, Castro-Wright said.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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