At its 20th annual conference for its investing community, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) announced it expects its 2015 capital expenditures to range between $11.8 billion and $12.8 billion, which is $200 million lower than what it anticipates for 2014.
It highlighted that the company will add between 33 million and 37 million in net retail square feet next year, more than half of which will be through its U.S. operations. In addition, this gain will also include "accelerated small format openings."
While it maintained its total 2014 forecast of capital expenditures between $12 billion and $13 billion, it reduced its total forecast to 34 million in net square feet. It originally forecasted between 36 million and 40 million, but reduced its international forecast by roughly 7 million, to 14 million square feet. In addition to the decrease in square footage for Wal-Mart International, it also revised its total expenditure down by $500 million to between $4 billion and $4.5 billion.
In its 2013 fiscal year, Wal-Mart added 14 million in square feet in the U.S. and 19.4 million internationally. In 2015, it projects that its U.S. operations will grow between 19 million and 21 million square feet, and only 12 million to 14 million will be added internationally.
President and CEO of Wal-Mart Mike Duke added "We're spending in a disciplined manner by setting up a more streamlined real estate process. We continue to improve our sales per square foot and Walmart will continue to grow through new stores and e-commerce, while expanding our logistics and fulfillment network in critical markets."
In addition to its square footage growth, the release highlighted that Wal-Mart's "capital dedicated to technology and e-commerce is growing," with CFO Charles Holley stating that "technology is our fastest growing area for capital expenditures. We will increase our technology spend 70 percent from fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2014. Next year, investments in this area will increase another 12 percent."