Page last updated at 06:13 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 07:13 UK

Wal-Mart plans smaller US stores

Wal-Mart store in California
Wal-Mart has seen fewer shoppers than it hoped for this year

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, plans to open smaller US stores to keep winning market share.

The company - famous for its huge sprawling superstores - has seen the average size of its stores drop over the past five years.

But Wal-Mart, which owns Asda in the UK, says that international growth will outpace the US in the near future.

The company forecast revenue growth of 1%-2% this year, well below a previous forecast of 5%-7%.

Wal-Mart expects sales to rise by 4%-6% next year, chief financial officer Tom Schoewe said.

'Price leader'

The average size of one of its supercentres has dropped from 180,000 square feet as much as five years ago to 150,000 square feet over the past year, Mr Schoewe said.

"That number will continue to come down," he added.

For the financial year to 31 January, Wal-Mart said it would add about 38 million square feet globally, down from 44 million last year.

On Thursday, online rival Amazon said that Thanksgiving and Christmas sales could beat expectations - sending its shares up as much as 13% higher.

"We watch the competition," said Wal-Mart chief executive Mike Duke. "We will be the price leader."

Wal-Mart outlined plans to cut prices every week in the US until Christmas.



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