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Wal-Mart: Sales Will Be Key at Annual Meeting

Wal-Mart investors have many questions heading into the company's annual meeting.

(Wal-Mart annual meeting article updated with schedule of events.)



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concerns have been mounting, leaving investors with many questions heading into the company's annual meeting, which kicked off last night.

How the discount giant plans to revive flailing U.S. sales

is at the forefront of most investors' minds, as Wal-Mart has reported five consecutive quarters of same-store sale declines. The company is also expected to post another drop in its third quarter.

Bill Simon, who was appointed head of the U.S. division back in June, will address investors on Wednesday at 10:50 a.m. CDT.

It's no secret Wal-Mart has been struggling with some of its discretionary categories, namely apparel and home furnishings. Its product assortment has also been criticized after Wal-Mart removed some items from its shelves through its "Project Impact" initiative. The company is currently in the process of restocking some of these items.

But despite a noticeable issue in merchandise, Simon chose not to name a new chief merchandising officer after John Fleming stepped down in August. Instead,

Simon decided to name four new heads of product to adopt these responsibilities


Long-time CFO Tom Schoewe is also leaving the company

, replaced by Charley Holley.

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Investors also anticipate Simon will outline plans for development of smaller format stores, after reports surfaced last month that Wal-Mart is eying shrunken urban real estate, as tiny as 20,000 square feet.

Wal-Mart's international operations have been a primary focus, especially after the company announced earlier in the month a

$4.25 billion bid for South African mass merchant, Massmart

. The company has been looking into emerging markets as vehicles for growth.

Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart's international division, will speak to investors on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. CDT.

Presentations from top executives will begin at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., at 8 a.m. CDT. Here's the schedule for the meeting:

    8 a.m. - 8:20 a.m: Company Strategy and Priorities -- Mike Duke, president and CEO
    8:20 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.: Sam's Club -- Brian Cornell, CEO, and team
    9:15 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.: Walmart International -- Doug McMillon, CEO, and team
    10:50 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.: Walmart U.S. -- Bill Simon, CEO, and team
    1:05 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.: Global Sourcing and Global E-commerce -- Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, and teams
    2:20 p.m. - 2:55 p.m.: Consolidated Financial Update -- Charles Holley, executive vice president finance and treasurer
    2:55 p.m. - 3:35 p.m.: Closing Remarks -- Mike Duke, president and CEO

>>>TheStreet will be live-blogging Wal-Mart's annual meeting starting at 11:30 EST today, covering Simon's remarks on the U.S. business.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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