June 20, 2012 / 9:10 PM / 6 years ago

Walmex cuts 2012 investment, store opening plans

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Wal-Mart de Mexico, Mexico’s biggest retailer, on Wednesday slashed its planned store openings for 2012 and cut its planned investment spending by 11 percent as it investigates allegations it bribed local officials to open stores more quickly.

Walmex, which operates stores and restaurants in Mexico and Central America, said it has added steps to its process for opening stores and as a result it will open fewer than previously forecast this year.

The supermarket chain said it will open between 325 and 335 stores in Mexico and Central America in 2012. In February, Walmex had told investors it hoped to open 410 to 436 stores.

Walmex also slashed its investment spending to 17.48 billion pesos ($1.27 billion) from 19.7 billion pesos announced in February.

Mexico’s attorney general’s office has launched a preliminary investigation into whether the retailer bribed officials to expand its business.

The company’s U.S. parent, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), is also facing a criminal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice over potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a U.S. law that forbids bribery of foreign officials.

Shares in Walmex closed down 0.84 percent at 36.43 pesos. ($1 = 13.7215 Mexican pesos)

Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Leslie Adler

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