Wal-Mart (WMT) announced Wednesday that it is closing some 50 underperforming stores in China and Brazil — a move that will likely create a small charge in the company’s fourth quarter and growth next year.
The stores are a small blip out of the hundreds in the emerging markets of Brazil and China, though the stores that will close represent some 3% of sales in each of those markets.
Wal-Mart will open new stores — in better areas — in those markets, however.
Charles Holley, chief financial officer, stated at a company meeting that Wal-Mart’s sales growth next year is projected at 3% and up — a notable increase since it’s been flat most of this year.
Wal-Mart expects its overall sales to rise to $475 billion to $480 billion this fiscal year, a gain of about 1.9 percent to 3 percent over last year’s $466.11 billion. For fiscal 2015, which begins in February, it is targeting 3 percent to 5 percent growth.
Positive economic signs such as a declining unemployment rate, along with Wal-Mart’s efforts such as better merchandising plans, new stores and ecommerce plans, makes the company confident it can grow sales faster next year, Holley said.