New initiatives for Walmart Latin America

Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) Mexican and Central American business units, led by Walmex CEO Scot Rank, have announced a three-prong plan to grow sales over the next year, reported The City Wire.  

Rank was upbeat about the company's business climate in Mexico as he spoke to a crowd at the Goldman Sachs Global Retail conference Aug. 3.

"We plan to grow sales in three ways: Focusing equally on same-store sales gains, adding square footage and more e-commerce transactions," Rank said at the conference.

Walmart's recent quarter recorded $103.3 million in international sales, a rise of 5.6 percent from the prior year.

For the year, Walmex anticipates sales growth of 4.1 percent in Mexico and 7.6 percent in Central America. The Express models are performing particularly well, as traffic growth in Mexico's Express stores were up 2.3 percent and 3.2 percent in Central America in August.

The retailer operates 878 Express stores in Mexico, averaging a 12 percent comp sales growth this year. The format fits in well with the country, which attributes 52 percent of all retail sales to smaller-sized stores.

In Mexico, the company also plans to improve its Banco Walmart efforts, which currently include 635,000 credit card holders.

The biggest challenge in the region has been the turnaround of Sam's Club. New management was put in place in spring but efforts moving forward include increasing more imports from Sam's Club in the United States.

Overall, the retailer will open 149 stores in Mexico and Central America this year. In spring, the company announced it would invest $1.1 billion to increase its Central American retail space by 7 percent.

E-commerce launched in the region last year. Rank sees future opportunities in grocery delivery and online orders moving forward.

"Though many say grocery delivery isn't profitable, it is for us and we see lots of opportunity," Rank said.

Looking to capitalize on international success in other parts of the world, Walmart recently announced it would invest $103 million into its wholesale business in India.

For more:
-See this The City Wire article

Related stories:
Walmart's holiday 'checkout promise' to open every register
Walmart customizes online shopping
Walmart buys social shopping app Luvocracy
WalmartLabs buys Stylr mobile app
Walmart's e-receipt a new mobile platform