TORONTO - Walmart is opening 35 more Canadian supercentres as part of nearly $500 million in planned investments over the next year as the U.S. retailing giant keeps competitive pressure on its rivals.
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Walmart is opening 35 more Canadian supercentres as part of nearly $500 million in planned investments over the next year as the U.S. retailing giant keeps competitive pressure on its rivals.
The world’s biggest retailer says it will invest more than $376 million to build, expand, relocate or remodel its stores. It will also spend $31 million for e-commerce projects and $91 million to enhance its distribution network to handle more fresh food.
The expansion will likely increase competition for Canadian retailers — especially grocery, pharmacy and clothing chains — who are up against Walmart and Costco, two long-time U.S. rivals, as well as newcomers.
Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount retailer after Walmart, began expanding into Canada last year and even online retail giant Amazon began delivering groceries to Canadian customers.
Grocery chains such as Loblaws (TSX:L), Metro (TSX:MRU) and Sobey’s (TSX:EMP.A) have put in place consolidation plans and cut prices to lure in more customers.
Walmart says details on locations for specific store and distribution centre projects for the year ending in January 2015 will be announced as they become finalized.
“Customers in every region of Canada are looking to save money on their entire list of shopping needs,” Shelley Broader, Walmart Canada’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
“Delivering on our commitment to help lower the cost of living is our top priority, and our growing network of supercentres and our expanding walmart.ca offering enable us to do just that.”
The retail giant first came to Canada in the early 1990s, and has been expanding year after year to become the country’s largest department store retailer by sales.
It’s also one of the biggest employers in Canada with more than 95,000 employees.
Walmart spent $450 million to open or expand 37 additional supercentres in 2013-14, which marked the first time the retail giant brought its supercentre model to the Maritimes.
Walmart says the 2014-15 expansion announced Tuesday will generate about 7,500 jobs, including construction work.
The company currently has 389 stores, including 247 supercentres that carry a combination of groceries, apparel, and household goods.
It expects to have a total of 395 stores by the end of January 2015, with 282 super centres and 113 discount stores.
Last week, Target, which started to open Canadian stores last March, announced plans to open nine more stores, with a total of 133 locations expected to be open by the end of the year.
Target has faced high expansion costs and disappointing sales since its highly anticipated arrival in Canada. Shoppers complained about near-empty shelves and notably higher prices than at U.S. Target stores.
Target is also dealing with a massive data breach at its U.S. stores that may have affected some Canadian customers who shopped across the border between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
Target has said its investigation found the personal information of customers in Canada could have also been leaked. It says the information included names, addresses, emails and phone numbers but not credit card or payment information.