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Original Source: FD (FAIR DISCLOSURE) WIRE
JOHN MENZER, VICE CHAIRMAN, USA, WAL-MART STORES, INC.: Good evening. Thank you to Citigroup and Deborah for the warm introduction. I feel really good because I have been in the same time zone now for a couple months, and it's really nice to be back in the United States. As you know, some of the statements that will be made today will be viewed as forward-looking. And so you are aware of the factors that are involved that may affect these predicted results. You can also refer to our filings in the SEC for additional detail.
I would like to say I have been with Wal-Mart now just over ten years and as you heard my first four years as CFO, my last six years running our international operations. And I will tell you that the way I see international despite the fast growth that we've had, the international opportunities are really unlimited. And the growth we're having now in China and other countries is just exceptional. This week we announced we are opening an office in India to start to look at operations in India if there are changes to the foreign direct investment act. So there is opportunity there.
I don't believe many companies, many large companies have already developed that next large growth (indiscernible) platform like Wal-Mart and that is international. So that will be our long-term future growth. But now that I am back in the United States I can tell you that we have many, many years of store expansion left also in the United States.
At Wal-Mart right now in the U.S. we reached what we called an inflection point and we have had inflection points just like every 3 to 5 years at Wal-Marts and we decide to really change. And we are changing the business model. I'm going to talk to you tonight about changing the business model and utilizing best practices from around the world. Because some of that business model change had already been done in our international operations. So I want to start with last week's sales report, for January we reported sales in the U.S. operations of a 4.7% comp, and 3.6 for the 52 weeks. For the 52-week period Wal-Mart added over $28 billion in sales for the company. $28 billion in sales so we are definitely growing sales.
We have also had very significant market development impacts, as we are impacting some of our stores, instilling in our markets as part of our growth strategy. The comps for the year that I am showing you were impacted by 2% for the 52-week period. 2% for the full year by our market growth development plans. Some changes in what we're doing -- we will no longer have a weekly sales call. We will have one call on a Saturday, following the end of the retail month and we will include an estimate of sales at that call. Starting this month we are going to report our comps different. We're going to report on a 13-month basis. This impact in the beginning is minimal, but you may have seen the schedule it starts to build as you go through the year. We believe we were using a very conservative approach to comp store sales and now will be similar to reporting as our peers do.
Because of the volatility of gasoline prices, we will no longer include fuel sales in our comp store calculation for SAM'S CLUB for this year. And you can find more of the details about our communication, and our comp store sales changes in our investor site at wwwWal-Martstores.com. This is what Wal-Mart looks today globally. We have over 6500 stores worldwide, international as Deborah said is now 15 countries, outside the United States with our most recent acquisition in CARHCO in Central America which we added in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. We are moving very quickly with global procurement and it's growing rapidly in our company. We now have offices for global procurement in 28 different countries, with 70 countries we're relying on for merchandise around the world.
I believe we are on a path to becoming a truly global company. Our sales growth will continue this year, with organic new store growth. Our comp store sales growth and the full year sales impact of last year's international acquisitions. This slide shows the stores that we opened this past fiscal year. And our plans for this year. We exceeded the numbers we told you last year early in the year, and we expect to hit the numbers for this year and we are right on schedule for those types of numbers.
I also want to tell you about future growth opportunities. Our most powerful committee in the company is our real estate committee and we meet once a month and we are approving deals both for our U.S. stores and international stores. We're looking at the demographics and we are looking at site layouts, and most of all we're looking at the return on investment. Our U.S. real estate committee has already approved over 1500 stores which are in our pipeline for future growth. 1500 stores approved for future growth rate for Wal-Mart.
You probably ask how we're doing in California, and my answer is we're doing great; our stores are all exceeded their expectations. We now have 13 Supercenters open in California. We are also developing what I would call nontraditional stores or non prototypical stores. Stores that will fit the land that is available. Some are multilevel stores, which have parking lots underground. Some are single floor but have very unique parking fields either above the store or surrounding parts of the store giving us more opportunity to grow in major urban markets.
We opened a new store in Evergreen Park, Illinois, January 27 last month. It's a 140,000 square foot Discount Store but it has expanded food. The store is located one block outside the Chicago city limits. We received for this store 25,000 job applicants for 325 positions. The store is opened up very very strong. Wal-Mart last month opened up 69 new units, 51 Supercenters and SAM'S CLUBS, 5 Discount Stores and 3 Neighborhood Markets. This was a Company record for Wal-Mart for the most stores ever opened in a month. Now I would like to show you a video -- short video on our Evergreen Park store.
We are obviously very proud of that store, and I think it really helped us in the Chicago market. You may have read some articles that Wal-Mart is going upscale. We have had quite a few calls on it and I want to tell you that that is not true; we're not going upscale. We are looking at the customers who are already in our stores, but are not shopping the entire store. They are selective users of our store, they may be buying food, or consumables, but not shopping entire store, not other items in the store.
Wal-Mart has been too opening-price-point focused. Now we need to protect that and retain it, and not lose that base. But we are also focused on being the best price, not just the lowest price. So we need to successfully service a broader customer base today. The customers that are part of the 100 million customers a week who already visit our stores.
Let me share with you some ways that we are taking …