PESO PROBLEMS MAY DELAY WAL-MART’S MEXICAN EXPANSION

Byline:

NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores may temporarily hold off on plans to open additional units in Mexico because of the peso’s devaluation, Bob L. Martin, president, Wal-Mart International, said here Tuesday.
“We may defer the ones [scheduled to open] in the first quarter [of this year] and see how things develop,” Martin said after taking part in a National Retail Federation convention session. He said any disruption in the retailer’s expansion plans would be a “short-term delay.”
Martin said Wal-Mart, which operates about 70 units in Mexico with joint-venture partner Cifra, had planned to open between 10 and 12 Sam’s Clubs and a similar number of supercenters this year in Mexico. Martin, who was part of a panel discussion entitled, “Where the Future Lies in Global Retailing,” said he viewed the current economic situation in Mexico as “part of the short-term pain for the long-term gain.”
Alfred F. Lynch, vice president and director of international development for J.C. Penney Co., who also was on the panel, agreed with Martin’s assessment.”It’s a blip,” Lynch said. “We don’t see any long-term problem.”

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