In 2013, Walmart opened 214 stores in Mexico, which is its largest foreign market with 3,407 stores, more than in any other country outside the U.S.
Most of the latest new stores are part of the Bodega Aurrera chain, which offers deeper discounts than Walmart and is part of the company’s move to compete with simpler marketplaces.
“This is where you find the great population mass that Walmart is going after,” Valentin Mendoza, an equity analyst at Banorte, told CNBC. He added that growth can trigger problems for a company that is already Mexico’s biggest retailer, posing the question, “Where is the ideal point where you can keep growing without cannibalizing the sales you already have?”
Mexican Walmart sales were up 2.6 percent in December for stores that had been open for over a year. In 2018, December’s total sales in the country increased by 4.1 percent.
“Opening 134 stores [in] our Superama, Walmart and Bodega Aurrera formats during 2019 allowed us to bring our lowest prices to Mexican families, in addition to promoting the growth and development of the country and giving employment opportunities to more than 5,000 Mexicans,” said Gabriela Buenrostro Ortega, Walmart spokeswoman for Mexico and Central America. “We will continue working for the welfare of the communities where we have a presence.”
Walmart also opened 27 stores in Central America in 2019.
In support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Walmart said it had 2,800 stores in Mexico and Canada, supporting nearly 430,000 jobs. There are over 5,000 U.S. stores and clubs employing 1.5 million people.
In November, Walmart said it was planning an aggressive expansion in China, with plans to add 500 new locations in the country over the next half-decade or so. The new stores would double the retailer’s presence in China, a country that is predicted to become the largest grocery market in the world by 2023.