Wal-Mart adds to its Tire & Lube Express outlets

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One of the independent tire dealer's largest competitors is getting larger. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is opening 29 Supercenters today in 18 states.

That gives the world's largest retailer 917 Supercenters, which feature Tire & Lube Express outlets. In all, Wal-Mart has 2,657 outlets nationwide. Approximately 51% of Wal-Mart's non-Sam's Club stores sell tires; that percentage has increased the last few years as the company has replaced discount stores, which may or may not offer tires, with Supercenters.

Wal-Mart also owns 476 tire-selling Sam's Club outlets.

The 29 Supercenters are slated to open in Texas (five stores), Tennessee and Georgia (three stores each), Florida and Missouri (two stores each), and Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin. Wal-Mart says it plans to open another 151 to 161 Supercenters through its fiscal year, which ends Jan. 31.

Wal-Mart also will open some 40 new discount stores, including four today; another 40 to 50 Sam's Club outlets; and 15 to 20 Neighborhood Markets.

Net sales for its most recent fiscal year were $191 billion, a 16% increase over the previous year. Net income was a record $6.3 billion.

Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., with more than 1,500 company-owned stores in the U.S., owns the largest domestic tire chain.

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