Wal-Mart slows China store openings to 100 over three years

Beijing -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday that it plans to open 100 stores in China by 2015, a slowed pace from prior growth rates in the country but still representing ongoing interest in boosting its market share behind the country’s No. 1 player Sun Art Retail Group.

Wal-Mart, which operates 378 stores in China, had been opening 50 to 60 new stores each year in the region. The retailer had suggested in August that the slowdown would occur, telling the Wall Street Journal that a more moderate pace would allow improvements in site selection and store design as well as optimized shopping experiences.

Wal-Mart also announced that it will add 18,000 jobs to its current roster of 100,000 in China, and will launch a new environmental initiative that mandates global suppliers to improve energy efficiency and waste reduction to match Wal-Mart’s own internal standards. Wal-Mart said it will terminate contracts with those that do not comply.