US retail giant Wal-Mart is expanding its operations in Brazil with an investment of BRL$1.8bn (US$1.11bn) and the opening of 80 to 90 new stores.

During a meeting yesterday (13 August) with president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Wal-Mart Brazil’s president and CEO, Héctor Núñez, said this latest move will be the largest investment yet in the country since it started operating in Brazil fourteen years ago.

The new stores will take the form of all the nine brands and formats the retailer currently operates in the country and it is expected that over 9,000 jobs will be created as a result.

“Wal-Mart believes in Brazil and is confirming this investing more and more in this country,” said Núnez. “We are investing not only in new stores, but also expanding our support to regional suppliers, exporting more Brazilian products, generating more jobs and working with projects to preserve the environment”.

The company says it has invested US$1.85bn in Brazil in the last four years, including 2008.

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Wal-Mart now owns 318 stores in 17 of Brazil’s 26 states, as well as the capital Brasilia, employing over 70,000 people.