There’s a first time for everything, and for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that day was Oct. 10 when it said it expects to generate $9 billion in global e-commerce revenue in its next fiscal year, ending Jan. 31, 2014. Wal-Mart, No. 4 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, in the past has not released online sales forecasts.
Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart global e-commerce, disclosed the figure at Wal-Mart’s annual meeting for the investment community. He said the $9 billion projection does not include potential acquisitions.
In August, Wal-Mart received Chinese government approval to acquire a 51% stake in Yihaodian, a Chinese mass merchant retail site with annual sales in excess of $130 million.
Wal-Mart’s bricks-and-mortar expansion continues, too. The Wal-Mart U.S. business unit expects to build between 95 and 115 small stores in fiscal year 2014, having built 80 in fiscal 2013. By 2016, Walmart U.S. expects to operate more than 500 of them, Wal-Mart says. Overall, Wal-Mart U.S. will add approximately 125 large stores in fiscal 2013.
Its Sam’s Club unit will open nine stores this year and 14 next year.
Internationally, excluding the U.S., Wal-Mart will add between 20 million and 22 million square feet of retail space in fiscal 2014, which is slightly less than the 21 million to 23 million square feet it is adding this year, the company says. U.S. retail space for Wal-Mart stores is projected to grow by 15 million to 17 million square feet in 2014, beyond the 14 million to 15 million the company is adding this year.
In 2011, Wal-Mart’s U.S. e-commerce sales totaled an Internet Retailer-estimated $4.9 billion, up nearly 20% from $4.1 billion the prior year. In comparison, Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Top 500, had $48.08 billion in sales.