Walmart Canada investing billions in infrastructure, creating hundreds of construction jobs

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Walmart Canada will spend $3.5 billion over the next five years to generate significant growth and make the online and in-store shopping experience simpler, faster and more convenient.

According to a press release, the investment will impact every aspect of the business leading to a faster e-commerce experience, two new distribution centres to speed up the flow of products, re-invented and “smarter” stores, an enhanced omni experience and modern digital tools to ensure associates can best serve customers.

“Millions of customers choose to shop with us in-store and online every day – and that’s a tremendous honour,” said Horacio Barbeito, president and CEO, Walmart Canada.

“Today’s significant investment will position us for future growth and make Walmart Canada even better for our associates and our customers. We are doubling down on our focus on the customer experience – not just to keep up but to lead and to be the very best in Canada.”

Also, the investment will create hundreds of Canadian construction jobs and forge new partnerships with Canadian technology companies, the press release says.

Plans include renovating more than 150 stores over the next three years – over one-third of the store network.

Spending announced on Tuesday is in addition to over $1 billion invested into remodeling and opening stores over the past five years and will speed up digitization to create “smarter stores”, including:

  • Expanded electronic shelf labels, shelf scanners to monitor product volumes, robotics and computer vision cameras to simplify, minimize touches and maximize efficiency and accuracy.
  • A new checkout experience to reduce touchpoints, including tap-to-pay, new bigger self-checkout and “Check Out With Me” mobile payment technology to allow associates to checkout customers anywhere in the store.

A total of $1.1 billion is being invested to build two new distribution centres and renovate an existing distribution centre, creating hundreds of construction jobs:

  • Vaughan: A next generation 550,000 square-foot distribution centre at 11110 Jane Street (400 Highway and Teston Road) slated to open in 2024:
  • Cornwall: New automated systems in an existing distribution centre to manage apparel, health and beauty, and other small general merchandise items slated to go live in early 2021.
  • Surrey, BC: New 300,000 square foot distribution centre currently under construction at 19500 26th Ave slated to open in 2022.

The investment will also include launching world-leading artificial intelligence software in partnership with o9 to more accurately predict and better plan volume to ensure Walmart’s customers get

“The retail business is as dynamic as ever and this investment ensures we’re developing a supply chain that is the envy of the world,” said John Bayliss, senior vice president, logistics and supply chain, Walmart Canada.

“The better the supply chain, the quicker our customers can get the products they want. This investment will transform our supply chain and create hundreds of Canadian construction jobs along the way.”

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