Wal-Mart de Mexico plans to spend MXN11.8bn (US$805m) on opening 252 new stores as the company expands into new cities in the country.

Despite Mexico's slowing economy, chief executive Eduardo Solorzano said Walmex will increase investment by 4% over the next year, creating 14,500 jobs in the process.

It will also slash prices on 1,700 items to draw more customers in.

That strategy helped it post an 11% increase in sales and a 5% gain in net profit last year as the economic downturn fuelled demand for its discount goods

"Last year we opened 182 stores and we have a presence in 224 cities. Even so, there are 147 cities in which we don't have a presence," Solorzano said yesterday (19 February) during a conference call with analysts.

Solorzano said that low prices and strict financing would permit the company to keep expanding.

"We've always been aggressive in the commercial part and more conservative on the financial one and that's how we will continue to manage the company."

Walmex runs over 1,200 units in the country, including 154 Wal-Mart stores, 67 Superamas and 91 Sam's Clubs outlets.