Wal-Mart looks to Brazil for huge expansion push

WAL-MART Stores, the world’s largest retailer, will invest up to 2.2bn reais (£740m) in Brazil next year, the largest-ever expansion plan by the company in Latin America’s biggest economy, a top executive said yesterday.

Wal-Mart, which ranks third among Brazil’s largest retail chains, plans to open between 100 and 110 stores in 2010, Hector Nunez, who heads the domestic operations for the company, said in Sao Paulo. The company’s investment plan is 40 per cent bigger than this year's 1.6bn reais, and is the largest since Wal-Mart entered Brazil 14 years ago, he added.

Strong job creation, a blossoming credit market and soaring equity prices are helping bolster consumer spending and fanning expansion in the industry in Brazil. Signs of recovery have mounted in recent months with employment, retail sales and other indicators showing strength, helped by a handful of tax breaks on products such as home appliances.