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Wal-Mart Canada CEO to Retire

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Wal-Mart Canada Corp.'s chief executive, Mario Pilozzi announced his retirement Monday, and said the company is on the right track.

"It's a good time for me," Pilozzi told Dow Jones. "I leave the company at a tremendous high. I believe that together with my team here we have reached a level where we can be very proud."

Pilozzi recently turned 61, and said succession planning at Wal-Mart Canada, a unit of retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has been in the works for the last couple of years. His last official day on the job will be Jan. 31, the end of the company's fiscal year.

He will be succeeded by David Cheesewright, 45, currently chief operating officer of ASDA, Wal-Mart's grocery chain in Britain. Cheesewright is no stranger to Canada, as he served as chief operating officer for Wal-Mart Canada from 2004 to 2005 before going to ASDA. He wasn't available for interviews.

Pilozzi said no the company's food strategy is clear. "Is there any secret of what we want to do with our stores? One-stop shop is about food and the (general merchandise). And we're very proud of what we put together."

Pilozzi worked with Woolworth Canada for more than 30 years before it was acquired by Wal-Mart in 1994. It was a struggling discount chain of 122 stores with sales of around 1 billion Canadian dollars back then. At the end of this fiscal year, Wal-Mart Canada's store count will be 305, with sales estimated around 15 billion Canadian dollars, or about $14.8 billion.

"We've got a lot going for ourselves," Pilozzi said. "We just finished one of the best months this year as far as sales and profit," he said, referring to November. "It exceeded our plan. If you know Wal-Mart, you know we have aggressive plans."

Retirement doesn't mean the end of his relationship with the company. Pilozzi said he plans to do consulting work for Wal-Mart's international division, and continue his charity work with Children's Miracle Network.

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