Appliance retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico will aggressively push to expand its lead over rival retailers and is considering new markets in 200 cities and towns, Eduardo Solorzano, the retail chain's new chief executive said.
Walmex, the Mexican unit of U.S.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., announced that the company plans to spend more than U.S. $700 million this year on new stores and remodeling. According to Mr. Solorzano, his priority is to "continue profitable growth" with an emphasis on expansion, on promoting efficiency by streamlining operations, and on tailoring individual stores to local consumers.
Mr. Solorzano said there would be no change to Wal-Mart's core business approach in Mexico. "We are a very institutional, very disciplined company," he said. "The values of the company are not going to change."
Walmex, one of Mexico's largest private employers with nearly 700 stores and restaurants, has identified 200 cities and towns as potential new markets. In 2004, Walmex had record sales of $12.5 billion, more than three times the total sales of its nearest rival.
As Wal-Mart has increased it presence in Mexico, opposition to the big-box stores has grown. Critics have said it brings cheap foreign imports that hurt local business. Mr. Solorzano said Walmex was focused on developing home-grown suppliers among small and medium-size Mexican companies, and that thousands of specialty businesses such as shoe repair shops and coffeehouses have set up around its stores. (Los Angeles Times)
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