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Time reports on how Wal-Mart plans to continue the enormous sales growth pattern that it has established over the past few years.

“Wal-Mart is mounting an audacious expansion that could double its sales within just five years, to $480 billion,” Times reports. “Some of that growth will come in new markets abroad, where 1,200 stores in nine countries already account for about 16% of the chain's total sales. But even more growth will be won as the chain insinuates itself into more U.S. neighborhoods and invades more product categories.”

For example:

  • The company’s goal is to have a 30 percent market share in every category it sells or occupies.

  • It plans to expand over the next five years from 3,400 U.S. locations, with roughly half of the them in the south, to 5,000 stores nationwide.

  • The company wants to centralize power and control by designing and manufacturing many of the products it sells.

  • Using a program called “Store of the Community,” Wal-Mart plans to get into the advanced data mining business, forecasting and replenishing on a “micro scale,” creating subtle differences between stores that will allow them to better serve local consumers.

“I'm not trying to be flippant,” Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott tells Time. “But simply put, our long-term strategy is to be where we're not.”
KC's View:
Excellent piece, worth reading, though quite possibly nightmare-inducing if you happen to compete with Wal-Mart. (And these days, who doesn’t?)

Most intriguing to us is the notion that as Wal-Mart centralizes power and control, it also looks to create more unique shopping experiences in its stores. That’s a tough challenge…though there’s no reason, based on history, that Wal-Mart can’t accomplish it.