Byline: Nancy Brumback

CHICAGO — Analysts have been expecting it for some time, but now Wal-Mart has made it official: It will hit the $100 billion mark this year, tacking on almost $17 billion in sales.
The message came from Lee Scott, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president of logistics when he gave the keynote address at the Material Handling Industry of America’s ProMat95 show here last week, and said Wal-Mart is poised “to bump” the $100 billion milestone this year.
For the year ended Jan. 31, 1995, Wal-Mart reported sales of $82.5 billion, an increase of 22 percent from $67.4 billion in the previous year.
As it pushes toward the $100 billion mark, Wal-Mart also expects to process more than one billion cases of merchandise for the first time in its history, Scott said.
“Starting at the end of this year, we have to open one million square feet of warehouse space every 2 1/2 to three months for the next four years,” he said, describing Wal-Mart’s efforts to keep its stores supplied.
The retailer will open three distribution facilities this fall to support its growth: a specialty distribution center, primarily for apparel and shoes, in Marcy, N.Y.; a general merchandise distribution center for hardlines in Ottawa, Kan., and a grocery warehouse in London, Ky.
Scott also said Wal-Mart is developing a prototype distribution center, with “elements that are going to change the way this industry does business.” He declined to provide further details on the project.