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• Wal-Mart said yesterday that it plans to trim its planned capital spending for fiscal 2009, cutting back to between $13 and $14 billion instead of the originally planned $13.5 billion to $15.2 billion. CFO Tom Schoewe said that the projection is based on increased efficiency by the company, not a reduction in its planned capital projects.

• The Financial Times reports this morning that Wal-Mart “is embarking on a further round of international expansion on the back of a systematic overhaul of the way it runs its business, which is expected to deliver more than $100bn in sales this year.” Wal-Mart’s growth rate in terms of retail square footage is now above its growth rate in the US.

“The retailer is actively exploring a first move into Russia and neighbouring countries, while preparing to open its first wholesale warehouse stores in India next year in a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises … To support its international expansion, the retailer has set up new systems over the past two years to assess and integrate new international businesses, in an effort to avoid repeating the missteps that led to unsuccessful ventures in South Korea and Germany in the late 1990s.”

According to Mike Duke, the company’s vice chairman, this approach includes a firm commitment to its troubled Seiyu subsidiary in Japan, which he says has a “clear path to victory.”

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