Wal-Mart to Invest Big in Brazil This Year

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, plans to invest 1.2 billion reais ($756 million) in Brazil this year, seeking to benefit from the expansion of Latin America’s largest economy.

Wal-Mart opened 45 stores last year and will open 80 new stores this year. Wal-Mart’s expansion plan includes hiring 7,000 people in Brazil in 2011.

Brazil’s fastest economic expansion in more than two decades, fueled by surges in credit and employment, is prompting foreign companies, from supermarket chains to car makers, to increase investments and take advantage of the growing consumer market.

Brazil’s economy grew 7.5 percent last year and may expand around 4 percent in 2011, according to the quarterly inflation report published March 30 by Brazil’s central bank.

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