Buenos Aires, August 11, 2008 - The President of Argentina, Mrs. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, today received a group of top executives from the International Division of Walmart Stores Inc, who announced to her investments in the range of 100 to 130 million dollars to continue developing Walmart’s operations in Argentina during 2009*. Walmart anticipates that it will open 12 to 15 new stores throughout the country, creating more than 2,000 new jobs.
The meeting was organized by the President of the National Agency for the Development of Investments, Mrs. Beatriz Nofal, who attended with the President of Argentina and the Federal Planification Minister Julio De Vido. Walmart’s delegation was led by Michael Duke, head of Walmart’s International Division, and included Craig Herkert, President and CEO for the Americas, Angela Hofmann, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs for the International Division, Ezequiel Gómez Berard, President and CEO of Walmart Argentina and Hernán Carboni, Director of Corporate Affairs of Walmart Argentina.
The representatives of Walmart recognized the achievements made by the National Government in restoring the nation’s capacity for consumer spending.
“We had a very productive meeting with the President, where we expressed our Company’s profound commitment to Argentina,” Mr. Duke said. “This investment will better enable Walmart to lower prices for many Argentineans. We also explained to our hosts our Company’s commitment to sustainable development, which is one of Walmart’s primary global objectives.”
Mr. Herkert noted that Walmart’s new investment will lead to the opening of new stores in more cities throughout Argentina. “This growth will result in the creation of new jobs at these locations while developing the business of small- and medium-sized suppliers in Argentina” Herkert said. “Our experience is that, everywhere we operate, our Company reduces prices for all consumers simply by being a good competitor, and that is a benefit to everyone.”
Since March of 2006, Walmart has created more than 4,000 new jobs. “We expect our company will have 27 stores by the end of this year, and more than 40 by the end of next year,” said Ezequiel Gómez Berard, President and CEO of Walmart Argentina. “We are pleased that our new investment plan for Argentina is accelerating, and is now even greater than we had committed to former President Néstor Kirchner.”
Beatriz Nofal emphasized Walmart investment as “a result of the company’s outstanding performance within Argentina’s market growth and a signal that reflects the trust with regards to the country’s economy future”. Likewise, Mrs. Nofal also pointed out the company’s initiatives to develop small and medium sized enterprises throughout the country’s different regions. Furthermore, Mrs. Nofal highlighted the company’s efforts towards internationalizing their suppliers by utilizing Walmart’s global scope distribution chain.
Walmart has operated in Argentina since 1995. The Company operates 21 Supercenters in the cities of Buenos Aires, Avellaneda, Quilmes, La Tablada, San Justo, La Plata, Bahía Blanca, Neuquén, Mendoza, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Paraná, Corrientes, Río Cuarto, San Luis, San Juan and San Fernando. The Company also operates three Changomas stores in La Rioja, Salta and Santiago del Estero, and a Distribution Center in Moreno, Province of Buenos Aires. Since the Company entered Argentina, it has invested more than 500 million dollars, and directly employs more than 8,600 Argentineans.
Walmart purchases products from more than 4,000 suppliers in Argentina, supplying a wide variety of products to its Supercenters and Changomas stores. The Company operates a “PyME Program,” which identifies and promotes smaller and regional suppliers, and resulted in more than 200 local and regional companies becoming suppliers to Walmart Argentina.
Through its Global Sourcing Program, Walmart fosters exports of Argentinean products to other Walmart stores worldwide. Through this program, Argentinean products including fruit preserves, canned tomato, candy, wine, pickles, clothes and ream paper are distributed to Walmart stores in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
Walmart is a worldwide retail company located in Arkansas, United States that is listed at the New York Stock Exchange (Symbol: WMT). With annual sales of more than US$370 billion and worldwide employment of more than 2 million, it is one of the largest private companies in the world. Besides its presence in Argentina, Walmart currently operates more than 7,300 retail outlets in the United States, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, China and Japan, and through a partnership, in India.
(*) Note: Announced investments are planned for year starting January 1st, 2009.