SLOWDOWN: The company will build fewer stores, and new centers will be smaller. By Marcus Kabel THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The world’s largest retailer is going on a diet. Wal-Mart’s share price took a hit from the slowdown in growth plans. But some analysts welcomed the move to focus on keeping more of the cash Wal-Mart generates rather than spending furiously on new stores. Increased free cash flow, or the money left over after a company pays its expenses including capital expenditures, could make Wal-Mart shares more attractive by funding higher dividends, new technologies or acquisitions, analysts said. “Strong free cash flow is the key to corporate flexibility and potential growth. The highest quality companies, in my opinion, are able to self-finance their future growth from their free cash flow,” said Patricia Edwards, managing director and retail analyst at Wentworth, Hauser and Violich in Seattle, which manages about $12 billion in assets and holds about 35,700 Wal-Mart shares. Wal-Mart said sales will continue to slow after years of strong double-digit growth. The retailer is struggling on several fronts. Its apparel and home decor businesses are still trying to find the right mix of merchandise. It’s also finding fewer places to build new stores, and it faces tougher competition from other retailers. Schoewe said sales growth will fall to 9percent this fiscal year from nearly 12 percent the year before and then be between 5 percent and 8 percent the next two years. Wal-Mart’s fiscal year runs through January. Schoewe said Wal-Mart is focused on using the tremendous cash flow generated by its U.S. and international stores more efficiently, including building fewer giant Supercenter stores and managing corporate costs better. Wal-Mart’s annual square footage growth will decline from 8.8 percent last year to around 6 percent this year and between 5 percent and 6 percent in the next two years, Schoewe said. In terms of Supercenters, the flagship of Wal-Mart’s U.S. business, executives said the retailer will build 195 this year, about 170 next year and 140 the following year, compared with a historical standard of around 280 a year. Capital expenditure will be between $13.5billion and $15.2 billion in the next two fiscal years after about $15 billion this year. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Beset by shrinking sales growth, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to build fewer and smaller stores as it cuts costs to help shore up profits. For the second time this year, Wal-Mart is trimming plans for capital expenditures to about $15billion from a June forecast of $15.5 billion in the face of continued decline in sales growth, Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe told investors and analysts at a conference. The original projection was $17 billion. Such efforts come as Wal-Mart’s customers are confronted with mounting financial worries that include not only higher food and gas prices but in recent months a widening credit crunch, which has hurt their ability to spend. “No doubt that our work has been made more difficult by the current economic environment,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, head of Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores. He noted that Wal-Mart should be able to win by offering compelling merchandise and pursuing hot merchandising categories. The average size of new Supercenters will fall from nearly 195,000 square feet this year to around 180,000 in the next two years, operations executive Bill Simon added.
BABY STEPS WITH ÁINE: Hi everyone. I hope you’re all well and ready for a fun filled weekend. This week I’ll be sharing some new-born present ideas.There’s nothing more exciting than the arrival of a new-born. For many of us, showering the little bundle of joy with beautiful gifts is the perfect way to welcome them into the world. Choosing presents can be tough. If you’re like me you will probably choose the safest option of clothes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Babies go through so many clothes so parents will be grateful for these.However, sometimes you might find you want to buy something a little bit different but you’re struggling with ideas.Here’s some things we received, and loved: Pram Toys:These are something we never thought about before Ava arrived. They are great entertainment for babies while parents are out and about. It might be a good idea to get something small if you are unsure of what pram system your friends have chosen.Milestone Cards:These are great. You can capture your baby, their milestone and date all in one photo. They can then be put in order in a photo album for reminiscing in years to come.Hand/Footprint Kit:The precious moments of the first months fly by. Creating keepsakes using handprints and footprints is a great way to capture memories of just how tiny and wonderful they are. These kits are such a lovely idea and something fun for parents to make.Books: These mightn’t be a present you think of straight away. They’re not something that will be used in the first few weeks but babies develop so quickly.Story books are a fantastic way of inspiring little imaginations, teaching babies and, of course, wonderful entertainment. There are so many great interactive books out there. Lift-the-flap books are Ava’s favourite at the minute. Personalised gifts:Personalised gifts are one of my favourites. They can be so unique and special. They are a great way of marking the new-borns arrival and adding personal touches to a baby’s nursery. Photoshoot gift voucher:We received this wonderful gift voucher for http://www.pamelabloephotography.com/A professional photoshoot will let you capture the cuteness of your little one and you can cherish them for years to come. There are so many packages available to suit every individual.Something for the new mum:New-borns receive so many gifts in those first few weeks so why not treat the new mum. After a long 9 months of pregnancy and labour she will definitely deserve it.This journal (above) is a great idea to help capture the precious moments of motherhood. Thoughts, family quotes, or special events can be recorded each day for five years, Perfect for the busy mum-on-the-go!A homemade pamper kit to personally suit the new mum will also go down well. Make sure to include plenty of chocolate.Don’t forget the dadsDads are easily pleased so, a beer or two will do the trick!!Finally, gift receipts are really useful. Parents might want to change the items for a bigger or smaller size, or receive duplicates.For some beautiful and unique gift ideas have a look on http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/ and https://www.etsy.com/uk/Thanks for reading and happy shopping,Áine xBABY STEPS WITH ÁINE: PRESENT IDEAS FOR NEWBORNS was last modified: May 28th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ÁineBaby BlogBaby StepscolumnFeaturesnewsPresents