By  on October 23, 2006

Wal-Mart said Monday that growth is becoming more expensive and the retailer will scale back expansion plans for the U.S. next year in an effort to improve returns and boost its stock price.

"For the past several years, our company goal was 8 percent annual square footage growth," said Wal-Mart vice chairman John Menzer, speaking during the company's annual presentation to analysts in Manhattan. "We believe now because of the company's size...this level would be difficult to achieve in future years."'

The world's largest retailer said it would grow its square footage by 7 percent in the U.S. and 10 percent abroad.

The company blamed skinny jeans and the overly ambitious roll-out of Metro 7 label for woes in women's apparel. The category depressed third-quarter same-store sales and will continue to impact fourth-quarter business, said Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive officer Wal-Mart Stores U.S.

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