Wal-Mart Ponders Expansion into Other Industries Such as Banking

Those who worry that Wal-Mart is taking over the world take note-soon the mega mart might be venturing into banking, dentistry and health care among other industries, CNN/Money reported.

Already at the top of the retail heap, Wal-Mart is considering expansion into other markets over the next five to 10 years. Wal-Mart banks might be part of the equation with research showing that 20 percent of Wal-Mart shoppers don't have their own bank accounts, CNN/Money reported.

"Wal-Mart is already testing the waters," Sandy Skrovan, Retail Forward's vice president and retail analyst, said in an audio forum Wednesday titled "Wal-Mart: How Big? How Far? How Fast?"

The forum consisted of several of the firm's analysts and was monitored in New York via telephone.

Said Skrovan, "Wal-Mart last fall in its conference call with analysts listed financial services as a key growth initiative for the company. Obviously there may be some legal hurdles with this, but the possibility is there."

Wal-Mart's 2004 holiday season performance was less than stellar, as consumers turned their back on the retail that some say didn't offer enough discounts. Despite that, Retail Forward projects that the company is still on track to hit $500 billion in sales by 2010, accounting for a whopping 12 percent of all retail sales in the United States, CNN/Money reported

"While the world waits for Wal-Mart to collapse under its own weight, Wal-Mart waits for no one, demonstrating a remarkable capacity to manage the retail life cycle and keep right on rolling," Retail Forward said in a recently published report Wal-Mart 2010. The firm provides market and consumer research to Wal-Mart.

Skrovan make it clear that Wal-Mart intends to vigorously grow its core areas such as food, beauty, clothes, toys and electronics, the company is looking to expand into banking, travel services, healthcare, fuel refining and publishing to name just a few.

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