CORRECTED – UPDATE 2-Wal-Mart sees U.S. sales improving in 4th quarter

* CEO says U.S. focus is on growing sales

* Says international task is to deliver profitable growth

* Shares up 0.6 percent
(Corrects start of fiscal year 2011)

By Brad Dorfman

CHICAGO, Oct 13 (BestGrowthStock) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: )
should see improvement in sales at its U.S. discount stores in
the fourth quarter as the company returns items to shelves and
focuses anew on low prices, the company’s chief executive
said.

“I expect to see positive sales results in this fourth
quarter,” CEO Mike Duke said of the unit in comments at the
world’s largest retailer’s annual meeting with analysts and
investors in Rogers, Arkansas.

The U.S. unit has seen sales at stores open at least a year
fall in each of the past five quarters.

Wal-Mart has faced increased competition from lower-priced
dollar stores that have attracted some customers hit hardest by
the economy. At the same time, customers that are feeling a bit
more secure have been trading up to rivals like Target Corp
(TGT.N: ).

Wal-Mart also shot itself in the foot, first through a
poorly executed attempt to cut down on the products in its
stores and then a failed attempt to increase traffic with
thousands of temporary price “rollbacks.”

The company has shifted its focus back to offering
“everyday low prices,” instead of the “rollback” strategy. It
has also been returning items to the shelves.

The focus on “on topline sales, is a critical, critical
priority,” Duke said

Internationally, Duke cited opportunities to expand,
especially in emerging markets like China, Brazil and Mexico.

The immediate task for the international unit is to deliver
“profitable growth” in key markets, he said.

The company sees opportunities to expand in several markets
around the world, Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart’s
international unit, said.

In September, Wal-Mart said it was in talks to buy South
Africa’s Massmart (MSMJ.J: ), a $4 billion deal that would give
it a big presence in Africa. Wal-Mart has also been looking for
a way to get into Russia.

McMillon said the company can fill in its geographic
portfolio in Latin America and also wants to get into new
markets in Asia.

“There are other large, high growth markets that over time
we hope to enter,” he said about Asia.

He also said the company needs to add scale in Japan and
Argentina.

Wal-Mart also said it expects international capital
spending of $3.5 billion to $4 billion in fiscal year 2011,
which began in February, 2010, and $4 billion to $4.5 billion
the following year.

That will include adding 21 million square feet of space in
2011 and 23 million to 24 million square feet the following
year, a company executive said.

Wal-Mart shares were up 33 cents at $54.25 on the New York
Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Brad Dorfman, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

CORRECTED – UPDATE 2-Wal-Mart sees U.S. sales improving in 4th quarter