Wal-Mart Canada to create 6,500 jobs in 2010

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Wal-Mart says it will create up to 6,500 jobs in retail and construction this year as part of a plan to open 35 to 40 massive supercentres in Canada.

A spokesman for the world's largest retailer said more than half of the locations will be entirely new stores or relocations and expansions. The remainder will be renovations of existing store layouts.

Wal-Mart Canada plans to open 40 super centres this year, employing as many as 6,500 people. Telegram file photo

Toronto -

Wal-Mart says it will create up to 6,500 jobs in retail and construction this year as part of a plan to open 35 to 40 massive supercentres in Canada.

A spokesman for the world's largest retailer said more than half of the locations will be entirely new stores or relocations and expansions. The remainder will be renovations of existing store layouts.

Wal-Mart's investments will add up to almost half a billion dollars, creating 2,000 jobs in construction and 4,500 employee positions at the retail stores, spokesman Andrew Pelletier said.

"We will be confirming the specific markets later in the year as we get closer to beginning these projects," he said, though he declined to offer a targeted start date.

Wal-Mart has been slowly rolling out its supercentres in Canada over the past few years. The concept combines its traditional retail layout with a wide array of food items, including produce and dairy.

The supercentres are intended to lure consumers away from supermarkets and into Wal-Mart stores for most of their shopping list.

That puts the American retail giant in direct competition with Canadian grocery chains Loblaw (TSX:L), Metro and Sobey's. For their part, the Canadian chains have been introducing general merchandise into their selling spaces in a bid to remain competitive with Wal-Mart and other big box retailers.

Wal-Mart said the new additions will bring its total number of stores in Canada to 325 from 280, which includes 124 supercentres. It already employs more than 70,000 people in this country.

Wendy Evans, head of retail consultancy Evans and Co. Consultants Inc. said the supercentres have been a successful engine of growth for the company and it is a strategic time for Wal-Mart to go through with the rollout.

"There are probably more location opportunities now than in the past quite a few years as a result of the recession," she said.

Evans said the chain has already ramped up openings of supercentres in Western Canada and expect it will now focus on Eastern Canada. She added while Wal-Mart would like to expand into urban centres, there is little space and money for it to do so, and it will likely remain focused on suburban locations.

Evans said the move puts pressure on other retailers and raises the stakes in an already competitive battle for market share, one that will likely trigger price wars.

"They're well over 100 and sometimes 200 thousand square feet, and so this is a very powerful draw for consumers who like to test out the new stores, and that's obviously taking some traffic away from existing stores."

She said Loblaw has generally reacted aggressively by lowering prices as Wal-Mart has opened supercentres in competition with its locations.

Loblaw has also announced it will spend $1 billion on store renovations and infrastructure upgrades and will revamp another 200 stores across the country in 2010 after already completing renovations at two-thirds of its stores.

Evans said while the creation of 6,500 jobs is generally good for employment, the downside is that it could drive some smaller businesses to shut their doors.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart announced separate plans to open a refrigerated distribution centre in Balzac, Alta., this fall, creating 1,400 jobs. Last year, the company laid off 1,200 people when it pulled its Sam's Club stores out of Canada.

Organizations: Wal-Mart Canada, Loblaw, TSX Metro inc. Sobey's Sam's Club

Geographic location: Western Canada, Toronto, Balzac

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Recent comments

  • bryan
    November 30, 2010 - 11:11

    How many of those Mom and Pop shops that walmart closed down paid above minimum wage and offered any kind of benefits? not too damn many of them. just because walmart is smart enough to have a strategy that makes them money and wins their shareholders money does not make them an "evil empire". Idealism... it's what you have until you start paying attention, welcome to reality folks

  • Patti
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    How many jobs will Sprawl-Mart take away by putting independant retailers out of business?

  • Gord
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    People complain about Walmart and so.....funny how every store is blocked with customers. I can't imagine no Walmart...bring em on!

  • Cathy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Wal-Mart is a place to get cheap, substandard goods which you will have to buy over and over again. In the long run this will cost you more, but most people don't see it this way. They pay their workers very poor wages and claim it is the only way to be competitive while making $13B profit last year. No matter where you shop, buy local and keep your money in Canada. I read the label no matter where I buy food, and try to understand where it's made rather than where it's packaged (they can claim made in Canada as long as it's packaged here - it is confusing sometimes). I prefer not to play Russian Roulette on the next food recall from some country where regulations are practically non-existent.

  • Tee From NL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Wal-Mart is an excellent company to work for. they give great benefits and I enjoy working there. Wal- MArt will give anyone a chance, and they employee a lot of nice and friendly people, and even though we may wear a blue smock, we represent one of the most progressed companies in the America`s. There are also more positions other then a Wal-Mart Greeter . We are kind hearted people who are there to serve many communities and we enjoy doing that. and to work at wal-mart you have to be a different kind of person. if you can handle working at wal-mart you can handle working anywhere and I speak for all my fellow wal-mart associates.

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Sounds like a good time to get a union in there. You are worth more than what Walmart pays you.

  • Jason
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Wow this may mean you may actually see more than 2 people on the non express checkouts. Walmart is cheap and goods are substandard, just like almost every other company out there big or small. Quality is sacraficed for money all the time, and if you think there are any difference between a walmart and a local shop, then your kidding yourself. I have bought goods from both and in the last 5 years you can really noticed a drop in quality of almost everything you buy, from clothing to electronics ETC...

  • Mario
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    There is one primary problem with trying to unionize service sector employees.

    There is nothing required to work in this sector short of being able to breathe. Walmart will hire anyone from drug addicts to the mentally challenged and everything in between. If their workers started a union, they could just fire them all and have an entirely new staff in the same day.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Wal Mart is evil.

    Buying anything at Wal Mart is essentially a vote to get cheap goods from China NOW, and to sell out our future.

    Support your community....buy local.

  • Frankie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Walmart, while a convenience in the lives of literally millions of middle class North Americans, has almost single-handedly destroyed the Manufacturing Sector of this continent, by outsourcing the manufacture of most of their products overseas ... namely to China. In so doing they have also created their own customer base, as former North American manufacturing sector employees are forced to take lower paying service sector jobs ... and so doing are forced to shop at Walmart because of the cheaply produced and priced goods. Sadly, a brilliant business strategy ...

  • Joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Worry about your job security no longer, public. You can always don the blue smock and greet people at the big sliding doors.

  • Calvin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    I agree, Walmart employees unite and form a union. Walmart cant afford to lose you with all of this expansion and investment. In the States it is different, illegal immigrants will work for less and consider bad treatment at Walmart better than treatment in their own countries. You need to find a union to support you in your attempt to form your own. However, you also need a current employee to step up and lead you in this venture. This individual would need to be educated and driven, and try not to take too much offense to this, but that is not the common Walmart employee.

  • Patti
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    How many jobs will Sprawl-Mart take away by putting independant retailers out of business?

  • Gord
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    People complain about Walmart and so.....funny how every store is blocked with customers. I can't imagine no Walmart...bring em on!

  • Cathy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Wal-Mart is a place to get cheap, substandard goods which you will have to buy over and over again. In the long run this will cost you more, but most people don't see it this way. They pay their workers very poor wages and claim it is the only way to be competitive while making $13B profit last year. No matter where you shop, buy local and keep your money in Canada. I read the label no matter where I buy food, and try to understand where it's made rather than where it's packaged (they can claim made in Canada as long as it's packaged here - it is confusing sometimes). I prefer not to play Russian Roulette on the next food recall from some country where regulations are practically non-existent.

  • Tee From NL
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Wal-Mart is an excellent company to work for. they give great benefits and I enjoy working there. Wal- MArt will give anyone a chance, and they employee a lot of nice and friendly people, and even though we may wear a blue smock, we represent one of the most progressed companies in the America`s. There are also more positions other then a Wal-Mart Greeter . We are kind hearted people who are there to serve many communities and we enjoy doing that. and to work at wal-mart you have to be a different kind of person. if you can handle working at wal-mart you can handle working anywhere and I speak for all my fellow wal-mart associates.

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Sounds like a good time to get a union in there. You are worth more than what Walmart pays you.

  • Jason
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Wow this may mean you may actually see more than 2 people on the non express checkouts. Walmart is cheap and goods are substandard, just like almost every other company out there big or small. Quality is sacraficed for money all the time, and if you think there are any difference between a walmart and a local shop, then your kidding yourself. I have bought goods from both and in the last 5 years you can really noticed a drop in quality of almost everything you buy, from clothing to electronics ETC...

  • Mario
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    There is one primary problem with trying to unionize service sector employees.

    There is nothing required to work in this sector short of being able to breathe. Walmart will hire anyone from drug addicts to the mentally challenged and everything in between. If their workers started a union, they could just fire them all and have an entirely new staff in the same day.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Wal Mart is evil.

    Buying anything at Wal Mart is essentially a vote to get cheap goods from China NOW, and to sell out our future.

    Support your community....buy local.

  • Frankie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Walmart, while a convenience in the lives of literally millions of middle class North Americans, has almost single-handedly destroyed the Manufacturing Sector of this continent, by outsourcing the manufacture of most of their products overseas ... namely to China. In so doing they have also created their own customer base, as former North American manufacturing sector employees are forced to take lower paying service sector jobs ... and so doing are forced to shop at Walmart because of the cheaply produced and priced goods. Sadly, a brilliant business strategy ...

  • Joey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Worry about your job security no longer, public. You can always don the blue smock and greet people at the big sliding doors.

  • Calvin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    I agree, Walmart employees unite and form a union. Walmart cant afford to lose you with all of this expansion and investment. In the States it is different, illegal immigrants will work for less and consider bad treatment at Walmart better than treatment in their own countries. You need to find a union to support you in your attempt to form your own. However, you also need a current employee to step up and lead you in this venture. This individual would need to be educated and driven, and try not to take too much offense to this, but that is not the common Walmart employee.