Walmart Canada has announced plans to invest $450m in completing at least 37 Supercentre projects and expanding its distribution network in 2013.
A return to normal growth rates
This rate of expansion, which will see Walmart Canada add around 1.4m sq ft of retail space, is fairly consistent with its goal of opening between 35 and 40 new Supercentres each year. These typically include a mix of new builds, relocations and remodels, with the retailer becoming increasingly efficient at ‘in-box’ conversions through re-balancing space allocation between food and non-food categories within its former discount stores.
Building on record year of growth in 2012
In 2012, the retailer undertook 73 projects, following the acquisition of 39 former Zellers stores. The majority of these store openings have been completed, although 11 are due to open by the end of this month, within its current fiscal year. This accelerated expansion program has enabled Walmart to further extend the reach of its food offer across Canada, including in Quebec where it has also established a regional office to support its growth.
A year of change expected in Canada
The retail sector as a whole will experience significant change this year as Target opens its first stores in the country. The first of around 120 stores are expected to open in March, although general merchandise retailers are expected to feel the greatest impact, given the retailer’s recognised strengths in categories such as homewares, clothing and cosmetics. Although the stores will carry a comprehensive food and grocery offer, it will account for proportionally less space as compared to its US stores, given the smaller average size of its Canadian properties.
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