Wal-Mart Canada extends store hours as customers scramble for earliest Easter in centuries


    Retailer helps time-pressed customers during retail rush

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 13 /CNW/ - As Canadians scramble to get their
shopping done in time for the earliest Easter holiday since 1818, Wal-Mart
Canada is extending Easter weekend store hours in 175 stores, or nearly 60 per
cent of its locations, to meet customer demand for more shopping hours.
    "With Easter falling earlier than it has in nearly 200 years, many
Canadians have been taken by surprise," said Jim Thompson, Wal-Mart Canada's
senior vice president of operations. "As Easter sneaks up, we're not only
offering customers the prices and merchandise selection they're looking for,
but the flexible shopping hours they need to get all their shopping done in
time."
    Easter is the number-two holiday for food spending and confectionery
purchases and the third-busiest shopping time of the year.
    This is the first time the company has introduced extended Easter store
hours. In recent years, Wal-Mart Canada has tested extended hours during busy
retail periods such as Christmas and back-to-school. The company introduced
24-hour shopping to approximately 70 per cent of its stores during Christmas
and Boxing Week and announced in January of this year that 10 per cent of the
chain would go 24 hours yearlong.
    "We expect to see more last-minute shopping this year and are responding
to customer need," adds Jim Thompson. "We aim to make these busy holiday
periods as easy and stress-free as possible by continually adding new,
customer-focused services."
    In most cases, the 175 stores will open two more hours on March 20 and
March 22. This excludes Wal-Mart Canada's 24 hour stores, which already
operate with extended hours. Easter holiday openings and closings vary by
province and customers are encouraged to call their local stores for hours.

    About Wal-Mart Canada

    Established in 1994 and headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Wal-Mart
Canada operates a growing network of 305 outlets nationwide. In recent years,
more than 100 Canadian communities have lobbied or petitioned to have a
Wal-Mart built in their towns. The company employs more than 77,000 Canadians
and serves more than one million Canadians each day.




For further information: Karin Campbell, corporate affairs, Wal-Mart
Canada, (905) 821-2111 x 4042