UPDATE 2-Walmex sees 2013 capex up, won't disclose new stores

Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:32pm EST

* 2013 spending seen at least 2.5 bln pesos more than 2012 capex

* Walmex expects to spend 9.2 bln-9.8 bln pesos on new stores

MEXICO CITY Feb 21 (Reuters) - Mexico's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart de Mexico, expects to spend up to $1.4 billion on investments in 2013, but in a break with tradition the company declined to say how many stores it plans to open this year.

Walmex, as the company controlled by Wal-Mart Stores Inc is known locally, is under investigation in the United States and Mexico for allegedly bribing Mexican officials to speed up store openings.

The company said on Thursday it expects to increase total store space by 8 percent to 9 percent in Mexico and 6 percent in Central America this year.

But it would not disclose how many stores it will open, company executives said at a meeting with analysts.

"We think that the number of stores does not communicate much," said Chief Executive Scot Rank in response to an analyst question about why the company will not reveal planned openings.

The retailer said its capital expenditure of between 17.3 billion and 17.9 billion Mexican pesos ($1.35 billion-$1.4 billion) will include spending of between 9.2 billion pesos and 9.8 billion pesos on new stores.

That compares with planned spending of 12.2 billion pesos on new stores announced in February 2012. However, last year's planned store openings were cut after the New York Times published a story in April with details of the bribery allegations.

The company last June said it would open 325 to 335 stores in 2012 in Mexico and Central America, for a store space increase of 8 percent in Mexico and 9 percent in Central America.

Total investment for 2012 was pegged at 17.48 billion pesos, according to that revised expansion plan.

Walmex posted a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday.

The company's shares closed down 0.82 percent at 40.98 pesos. The shares are down 3 percent year to date.

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

How to get out of debt

Financial adviser Eric Brotman offers strategies for cutting debt from student loans and elder care -- and how to avoid money woes in the first place.  Video