Wal-Mart may be quintessentially American, but the chain's focus is becoming increasingly international. With the US consumer listless and purchasing power growing—despite the recession—in many developing countries, Wal-Mart is following demand abroad. Its international division reached $100 billion in sales last year, and the company will soon have more locations outside of the US than in it, the Washington Post reports.
Which is not to say that the store is rubber-stamping big-box style Wal-Mart outlets all over the world. Its international presence is made through 55 different stores, like Bodega Aurrera Express in Mexico, Acuenta in Chile, and Seiyu in Japan, though all subsidiaries follow the Wal-Mart dogma of pursuing low prices above all. Wal-Mart says that while the international side is growing, domestic operations remain important : "We really think of it as a portfolio," said one Wal-Mart exec. "We expect emerging markets will help deliver a lot of top-line growth. But the developed markets help create continuous cash flow, some predictability."