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    Economic Slowdown Won't Slow Down Wal-Mart Americas Expansion

    The retailer plans to open 205 new stores in Mexico this year.

    Despite the fact that troubles for the U.S. economy have many companies running scared, Wal-Mart Inc. is continuing its expansion throughout North and South America, according to a report in Reuters. Even though Wal-Mart's Mexican unit posted a 2 percent drop in profits for the third quarter, its first decline in quarterly net profits in five years, the discount giant still plans to open more than 200 stores in Mexico this year.

    "We're not rolling back on our growth plans at all," said Craig Herkert, president and ceo of the Americas for Wal-Mart. Herkert oversees Wal-mart's businesses in the Americas, excluding the United States. "Value today is more important than ever in food, in consumables."

    Herkert said Wal-Mart is sticking by growth plans it has announced for Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico.

    The Americas division is a key growth driver for Wal-Mart. It posted sales of $47 billion for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31; and its sales have increased at a compound annual growth rate of 18 percent for the past 10 years.

    Wal-Mart's U.S. division last year reported net sales of $239.5 billion, up 6 percent.

    As Mexico's largest retailer Walmex reported net income of $266 million in the third quarter down from the same quarter last year. Total sales rose 10 percent to $4.7 billion as the company cut prices to draw customers during economic uncertainty.

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