Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Thursday it will keep its conservative approach to U.S. expansion as it pours resources into renovating stores or exploring higher-return investments abroad.
The world's biggest retailer said its international square footage growth will outpace U.S. growth this year and next fiscal year. It will open smaller stores in the United States to penetrate new markets.
Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart's chief financial officer, gave the forecast on the second day of Wal-Mart's analyst meeting.
On Wednesday, Wal-Mart outlined plans to slash prices every week until Christmas to fend off rivals and keep newly won market share gains.
Wal-Mart expects sales to grow 1 percent to 2 percent in the current fiscal year and 4 percent to 6 percent next year, with square footage up 4 percent in both years.
In the United States it is remodeling stores under its Project Impact initiative and, as of November, will have completed remodels at more than 30 percent of its 3,538 U.S. Walmart stores.
In those stores, it is widening aisles, reducing clutter, changing layouts and updating signs to increase sales.
Wal-Mart also expects capital expenditures of $12.5 billion to $13.1 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends in January 2010 and $13 billion to $15 billion for the next fiscal year.
Wal-Mart shares were down 19 cents at $50.44 on the New York Stock Exchange in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Nicole Maestri in San Francisco and Martinne Geller in New York; editing by Andre Grenon)