Walmart Canada will invest nearly $1 billion this fiscal year (which ends Jan. 31, 2024) as part of its multi-year modernization plan, including the unveiling of a “Store of the Future” in Mississauga, Ontario, the debut of the first Walmart Health Hub in Canada, more than $300 million spent on store remodels and renovations, and an expansion of the retailer’s fulfillment network to enhance the ecommerce experience.
This year’s investments mark the midpoint in the company’s five-year, $3.5 billion transformation strategy, which was first announced in July 2020.
“Walmart Canada has an ambition to be the most trusted retailer for Canadians,” said Gonzalo Gebara, President and CEO of Walmart Canada in a statement. “This is what we’ve worked toward for the last 30 years and it’s why we continue to invest, including nearly $1 billion this year, to build an even more efficient, consistent and reliable omnichannel experience for Canadians. We’re excited to welcome our customers into our modernized stores and for them to experience the future of Walmart Canada, no matter how they choose to shop with us.”
Walmart Canada’s ‘Store of the Future’
Walmart Canada’s future flagship location, the Square One Walmart Supercentre in Mississauga, is the retailer’s largest store by square footage and one of the company’s largest capital investments ever in a single store. With improvements already underway, this “Store of the Future,” as the company has taken to calling it, will act as a prototype for omnichannel retail innovation. Features include:
- Immersive retail experiences designed to enhance in-store shopping, including opportunities to experience and purchase products in new ways. This transformation will begin in electronics, where traditional product cases will be replaced by open displays allowing for hands-on interactions;
- New, technology-powered ways to shop: In the reimagined electronics department, customers will be able to see product availability in real time, scan a QR code to place their order and experience immediate on-site delivery by an associate, facilitated by automation;
- A new Walmart Health Hub will centralize the store’s pharmacy, vision center and medical clinic into one area, providing a one-stop shop for health and wellness needs, supported by the company’s new pharmacy app. Square One’s Walmart Health Hub is the first of its kind in Canada and “a window to the future of how Walmart Canada will strive to enhance access to affordable, personalized healthcare,” said the company; and
- An expanded omnichannel operations area that provides dedicated space for associates to pick, pack and stage customer orders, creating more availability for pickup and delivery slots for customers.
A Modernized Store Experience
By the end of the fiscal year, Walmart Canada will have upgraded and modernized 55 stores across the country, including 20 extensive refurbishments. Some of the more significant updates in these 20 stores include:
- A more modern look and feel, including clearer navigation, new aisle markers and enhanced customer-facing signage;
- A focus on sustainability, including transitioning to CO2, a more environmentally-preferable refrigerant;
- Updated Fresh departments, providing customers with a larger produce area, expanded assortment and improved overall shopping experience; and
- Enhanced support for omnichannel experiences, including more dedicated space to pack and prepare customer orders, and improved technology.
In August, Walmart Canada also opened a brand-new 140,000-square-foot Supercentre in Montreal’s Marché Central shopping center.
An Enhanced Ecommerce Fulfilment Network
This year’s investments also include new “ecommerce-ready” facilities designed to get products to Canadians faster, including the Rocky View County Fulfillment Centre, which opened in June 2023 in Alberta. This new facility is capable of shipping 20 million items annually direct to customers.
Additional initiatives to improve the online shopping experience for customers include Delivery Pass, which offers unlimited free next-day delivery through a subscription program, and a refreshed Walmart Canada App and website to better serve customers as they shop on the go.