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Wal-Mart says to slow store openings, invest more in ecommerce

An employee cleans a clothes rack at the Walmart Supercenter in Bentonville, Arkansas June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N), the world's largest retailer, said on Wednesday it would open fewer stores in the U.S. in the next fiscal year and ramp up spending on e-commerce.

The retailer will open 180-200 of its small format stores, called Neighborhood Markets, in the next fiscal year through January 2016, Greg Foran, head of the U.S. business, told a meeting of investors and analysts. That compares with its plan to open 270-300 of the small format stores in the current fiscal year.

Foran said Wal-Mart would open 60-70 Supercenters, its large format store, in the next fiscal year, compared with a plan for 115 openings, including conversions, this year.

Wal-Mart CEO Douglas McMillion told the meeting that the retailer would invest "a bit less than we would in stores" and invest more in e-commerce.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)