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Wal-Mart Affirms Guidance, Plans Expansion

The company expects quarterly earnings of 45 to 47 cents a share from continuing operations.

Wal-Mart Stores

(WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report

affirmed its third-quarter earnings outlook and announced expansion plans for fiscal 2004.

The company said it expects earnings of 45 cents to 47 cents per share from continuing operations for the third quarter.

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Domestically, the Wal-Mart division plans to open around 50 to 55 new discount stores and 220 to 230 new supercenters. Relocation or expansion of existing discount stores will account for approximately 140 of the supercenters.

The Sam's Club division will open 35 to 40 domestic stores, approximately 20 of which will be a result of relocation or expansion of existing stores.

Wal-Mart International plans to open 130 to 140 units in existing markets. Relocation or expansion of existing stores will account for approximately 30 of these units, while the remainder will represent new operating units for the company.

Also, the company will construct three new regional general-merchandise distribution centers and two new food-distribution centers during the next fiscal year.

"We believe that the combination of square-footage growth and same-stores sales increases will allow us to achieve total shareholder return in the midterm of 13 to 15%," said Lee Scott, president and chief executive.