Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is planning to invest more than $450 million into its Canadian operations during the next year. This investment is part of the company’s push into Canada’s grocery category.
Wal-Mart officials plan to use this investment to open 35 supercenter stores, carrying groceries, apparel and home décor, throughout Canada. By the end of 2015, officials anticipate Wal-Mart to have 395 store locations, which includes 282 supercenters. Part of the investment will go toward distribution network projects to boost the company’s fresh food offering and to support e-commerce projects.
Keith Howlett, an analyst with Desjardins Securities, said Wal-Mart has added between 30 to 40 stores in Canada per year year, and he predicts the company will keep this pace during the next few years. Much of the company’s latest investment will be focused in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, Howlett said.
Competition is intensifying in the Canadian grocery space, and mass companies, such as Wal-Mart, are vying for space against discount retailers. Loblaw officials, for example, announced plans to acquire the drug store chain Shoppers Drug Mart and Empire Company’s Sobeys is planning to purchase Safeway’s Canadian operations.