Walmart rethinks plans for overseas growth

Aug. 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. retail chain Walmart said it would put on the brakes on expansion plans for China, Brazil and Mexico.

Speaking to growth in China and Brazil, "We still feel very positive about those two countries ... It's all about us right now," Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said.

The Financial Times reported Thursday Walmart moved too quickly in China where operating income grew "slightly" in the second quarter, the company said.

In Brazil, the company is trying to keep costs down. Walmart's operating income in Brazil dropped slightly in the past quarter.

In Mexico, Walmart was rocked in 2011 by allegations it paid bribes to government officials to maintain a charged-up expansion schedule.

"Our goal is to achieve profitability and returns that are more balanced and to do that, we must improve operational and sales productivity in some of our emerging markets," Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke said.

In its latest quarterly report, Walmart said sales rose 5 percent over the same period of 2011 with international sales up 7.2 percent to $32.3 billion.

In the previous quarter, international sales, which make up about 28 percent of the company's business, was up 10.9 percent.

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