Walmart to grow Neighborhood Markets to 500 strong by 2016

In its annual meeting with analysts on Wednesday, Wal-Mart Stores U.S. president Bill Simon said the retailer would accelerate small-store growth stores and announced plans to have 500 Neighborhood Market stores and 12 Express stores by fiscal 2016. The latter would measure, on average, 10,000 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft.

“This gives us the opportunity to build more stores for less money," Simon said. Walmart currently operates 217 Neighborhood Markets and 10 Express stores.

Setting a goal of $9 billion in sales by fiscal 2014, Walmart executives made it clear they plan a major e-push into e-commerce. The Bentonville, Ark., retailer is also testing same-day delivery in select U.S. cities, an attempt to take on the consumer love affair with 

Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke stressed business momentum and financial results in his address to the investment community on Wednesday. He told analysts that Walmart would bring the same discipline to capital expenditures and to the investments that the company is making in areas such as e-commerce and shared services, systems and global processes.

“Walmart is strong, and we are getting stronger,” said Duke. “I believe that the combination of momentum, investment and discipline will continue to deliver growth, leverage and returns for our shareholders.”

Duke said the Walmart U.S. business is making progress on a number of fronts that are driving strong comp sales, stressing its focus on holiday 2012 programs, as well as more long-term strategies such as ongoing financial goals of growth, leverage and returns: “We will generate growth through comp sales from existing business, new stores and e-commerce. Our international business will continue to be a growth engine. And at Sam’s, we’re pushing hard to accelerate growth in membership and top line sales,” Duke said.

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