Walmart plans to doubling down on China with 500 new stores.

Despite an economic downshift, Walmart plans to expand in China, CNN reported. The retailer announced it will be opening 500 new stores in China over the next five years to seven years, which would be more than double Walmart’s current footprint in the country.

Walmart first opened its doors in China in 1996 and has since grown to have 433 stores there.

Earlier this year, Walmart announced plans to invest more than a billion dollars into its China business. In addition to opening 500 new stores, it will remodel more than 200 stores in China, adding features such as self-service cash registers.

Chinese newspaper China Daily first reported the store additions with a Walmart spokesperson confirming the news to Business Insider, saying that the new locations would be a combination of smaller stores, supercenters, and depots with more than 200 of its existing stores undergoing remodeling in the next couple of years as well.

“Since entering China more than 20 years ago, Walmart has strived to be the most trusted retailer in this market, and we have remained competitive by always providing value and quality,” James Ku, senior vice president of China Realty at Walmart said in a press statement (via Business Insider).

“Today, Walmart is leveraging omnichannel and multi-format strategies to bring customers freshness, value and convenience. We will continue to collaborate with partners and policymakers in China to accelerate our expansion, introduce new innovations, and advance our omnichannel services to help our customers live better lives,” he added.

The expansion comes as China’s huge economy is cooling. The country is grappling with slumping growth and a prolonged trade war with the United States. China’s GDP growth dropped last quarter to its lowest level in nearly three decades, and Beijing has been rolling out stimulus measures to jump start the economy.
Chinese consumers, however, are still spending, and that’s been good news for Walmart.
The company’s China sales grew 6.3% last quarter compared to the same period last year, much higher than its 2.5% growth worldwide.




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