The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, today announced further details of its ambitious multi-million dollar expansion into both the US and overseas markets.

Domestically, the Wal-Mart division plans to open up to 50 new discount stores and 180-185 new Supercenters - of which 110-115 will be relocations or expansions of existing discount stores.

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It will also extend its Neighbourhood Market concept by adding 15-20 new units in the fiscal year beginning February 1, while the Sam's Club division will open 50-55 domestic clubs.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart International plans to open 120-130 units in existing markets as well as several restaurants, department stores and supermarkets in Mexico. In addition, Germany will continue with the remodelling of the acquired hypermarkets.

"The planned square footage growth for the coming year represents approximately 46 million square feet of new retail space, which will be the largest square footage increase in the company's history and a nine per cent increase over the fiscal 2002 total," said Lee Scott, president and chief executive officer.

Mr Scott added that his company will also build two new regional general merchandise distribution centers, three new food distribution centers and two fresh food distribution centers which will boost its distribution space by almost seven million square feet.

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