(Source: Las Vegas Sun

Struggling with bankruptcies and store closings, the shopping center industry opened its annual convention Sunday in Las Vegas by highlighting retailers that continue to aggressively expand despite the recession.

Heading the list was Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which, despite the economic slowdown, plans to spend $12.5 billion to $13.55 billion in the fiscal year that started Feb. 1 on capital expenditures, including opening, relocating or expanding 165 to 185 stores in the United States and 550-600 in other nations.

Speaking at the International Conference of Shopping Centers ReCon conference on Sunday, Wal-Mart international real estate executive Joe Albright said that with its worldwide expansion, the company is transforming to take a global approach instead of being a U.S. company with international operations.

The company, largely through acquisitions, operates under numerous brand names worldwide. It has operations in 15 international markets including 1,221 stores in Mexico, 371 in Japan, 360 in the United Kingdom, 346 in Brazil, 312 in Canada and 249 in China.

“They’re becoming the international 7-Eleven,” said retail analyst Dana Telsey, a moderator of a panel on retail trends.

The value approach is working well for the company, she said.

“They save people money so they can live better lives,” Telsey said.

Read Steve Green’s full article “Shopping center industry notes bright spots at Vegas convention” in the Las Vegas Sun (May 17, 2009).

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