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Wal-Mart’s Ambitious Forecast: $500 Billion by 2016

Retail giant Wal-Mart revealed its ambitious projections and plans for the next several fiscal years. Their eye-popping goal for 2016: $500 billion in sales, or about one-half of what JC Penney borrowed this year to shore up its capital reserves.

The capital spending for Wal-Mart in 2015 will be aggressive, with plans to drop $11.8 billion to $12.8 billion. The primary focus of the company will be improved technology, e-commerce and omnichannel capabilities and small-store renovations.

For the current fiscal year, Wal-Mart anticipates to draw in roughly $480 million in sales, in line with Thomson Reuter’s forecasts. The company also plans to grow by a healthy 3 percent to 5 percent, adding as much as $24 billion in net sales.

Wal-Mart also plans to add as many as 265 new stores, which amounts to about 21 million square feet. For the sake of context, consider that New York City’s Central Park is 36.5 million square feet.

But the number generating all the buzz is the robust prediction of half a trillion dollars by 2016, largely fueled by innovations in e-commerce strategies. Wal-Mart expects to close out 2014 having captured $10 billion in internet sales.

Wal-Mart’s plans seem particularly ambitious given the economic doldrums experienced recently by other mammoth retailers like Sears and JC Penney’s, both struggling to halt contraction rather than aim for positive growth. Wal-Mart has also experienced its own challenges, especially with its international partners in Brazil, China and India.

Over the last fifty-two weeks, Wal-Mart’s stock has traded between $67.37 and $79.96.