Wal-Mart Stores Inc , the world's biggest retailer, will invest 1.2 billion reais ($759 million) in Brazil this year to tap buoyant consumer demand in Latin America's largest economy, the unit's top executive said on Tuesday.

Wal-Mart Brasil Chief Executive Marcos Samaha told reporters in Brasilia that the plan aims to build 80 new stores including hypermarkets, discount stores, warehouse retailing units and grocery shops by the end of the year, creating 7,000 jobs.

Wal-Mart's plans underscore its growing interest in Brazil, where consumption is solidly supported by record job creation and rising wages as millions join an emerging middle class. More than half of the new stores will focus on serving lower middle-class families -- the bulk of consumers in the 190 million nation.

Our investment plan goes in line with the social and economic development plan of this country, Samaha said.

The U.S. retailer is Brazil's third-biggest after Grupo Pao de Acucar

and France's Carrefour . ($1=1.58 reais)

(Reporting by Vivian Pereira; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)