Wal-Mart de Mexico y Centroamerica has revealed plans to develop its Central American unit, announcing its intention to invest some MXN18.97bn (US$1.6bn) during 2011.

The world's largest retailer plans to invest the money in opening 445 stores over the year, with some 365 of them set to be opened in Mexico. Across its Central America and Mexico region, the retailer intends to increase its footprint by 11.9%, with 12.2% growth in Mexico.

Speaking at an analyst day on Thursday (24 February), the division's CEO, Scot Rank, said the move would generate around 20,000 new jobs and over 40,000 indirect jobs in the construction industry.

Rank said that in 2011, the company will invest a record amount in Mexico of around MXN14.09bn.

"Never before have we invested such a large amount of resources in a single year, and it is proof of our commitment to and confidence in Mexico," said Rank.