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    Wal-Mart Plans Up to 195 Stores in 2004

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the world's largest retailer, plans to open as many as 195 new stores and replace or expand another 160 in the United States next year.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the world's largest retailer, plans to open as many as 195 new stores and replace or expand another 160 in the United States next year.

    In addition, Wal-Mart International will open 100 to 110 new stores in existing markets and replace or expand 30 stores, the company announced Monday.

    Beginning in February, Wal-Mart plans to open 50 to 55 new discount stores, 80 to 90 new supercenters, 25 to 30 new Neighborhood Market grocery stores, and 15 to 20 new Sam's Clubs in the U.S. The company said an additional 140 supercenters and 20 Sam's Clubs will expand on or replace existing stores.

    The company also plans three new regional merchandise distribution centers and two new food distribution centers during its next fiscal year.

    Wal-Mart said it maintains that it will post earnings per share from continuing operations during the third quarter of 45 cents to 47 cents. Earnings are currently tracking in the middle of that range.

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