NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wal-Mart (WMT) executives presented a positive long-term outlook at the company's 20th annual investors conference on Tuesday. Among the details discussed, the retailer said in 2014 it intends to add 33 to 37 million net retail square feet, more than half within the U.S., to its current assets.
The retailer will turn its focus to small format openings and e-commerce fulfillment centers, though Wal-Mart's superstores will be mainstay. The retailer is also investing in technology to make store processes more efficient. For example, by year-end, almost two-thirds of Wal-Mart stores will offer the self-checkout option.
The shifting retail approach is expected to address a downward trend in Wal-Mart same-store sales. In the second quarter ended July 31, comparable sales declined 0.3% while a quarter earlier they dropped 1.4%. Though the rate of decline is slowing, Wal-Mart sales continue to reflect challenges facing the greater retail environment.
"We're in a tough and unpredictable global economy," said President and CEO Mike Duke. "Near-term execution is critical for us."
He remained positive, however, telling the audience, "No matter what environment we're in -- today, a year from now, five years from now -- we are driven to win."
Wal-Mart shares closed 0.42% lower to $74.37, leading the S&P 500 which was down 0.71%. In after-hours trading, shares have gained 0.93% to $75.06. Wal-Mart will report third-quarter earnings on November 14.
TheStreet Ratings team rates Wal-Mart Stores Inc as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: