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Wal-Mart on the Move with New Stores

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is staying on the move this month. The Bentonville, Ark.-based chain said yesterday it plans to open 81 new stores and clubs across the country, with 73 of them celebrating grand openings this week.

The 81 stores and clubs are opening in 30 states, including seven openings in North Carolina, six in Illinois, five each in Michigan and Florida, four in Ohio, and three each in Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, New York, Nevada, Indiana, and Iowa.

Included among these stores are two additional new High-Efficiency (HE.2) prototypes designed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use 25 percent less energy than a standard Wal-Mart Supercenter. Wal-Mart plans to open a total of four HE.2 prototypes. The first opened in January in Romeoville, Ill., and the remaining three will open by the end of the year.

Wal-Mart will also open its ninth Jobs and Opportunity Zone store in Decatur, Ga. on March 7. Decatur is one of 10 locations where Wal-Mart is partnering with local organizations to "spur job creation and economic development in the community." In the two months since the hiring site opened, Wal-Mart said it has received more than 12,000 applications for the 450 jobs available at the Decatur store.

Wal-Mart also reiterated that it is executing the plan it unveiled at its shareholders meeting in June 2007 to moderate its U.S. supercenter growth. The company opened 195 supercenters in the United States in the last fiscal year -- 30 percent fewer than in the previous year. These include relocations and expansions. Wal-Mart projected that it will open 170 supercenters in the current fiscal year ending Jan, 31, 2009, and 140 supercenters in the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2010.

"As we told investors last year, we're focused on expansions and relocations of existing discount stores to supercenters, because the supercenter concept provides the greatest return," said Bill Simon, c.o.o., Wal-Mart Stores, U.S., in a statement. "This will result in building fewer new stores."
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