New CEO, Cheesewright: Company is "better than ever" on the promises of
price and selection.
MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 11 /CNW/ - Wal-Mart Canada opened the doors of its
300th store this morning, a Wal-Mart Supercentre in the Heartland retail
district of Mississauga, Ontario. The flagship store welcomed thousands of
customers in the first hour of operation - including a line up of hundreds
waiting for the 8 a.m. ribbon cutting.
"Wal-Mart Canada is a strong business getting stronger," said David
Cheesewright, Wal-Mart Canada's president and CEO, during grand-opening
remarks at the 300th store this morning. "As we get ready to open the doors of
our 300th store here in Mississauga, our 301st store is scheduled to open
later this morning in Peace River, Alberta. Demand for our stores is high and
we are responding."
The continued growth of Wal-Mart Canada's business - including as many as
27 new or expanded stores planned nationwide for the current year - is built
upon a foundation begun in 1994, when Wal-Mart Canada took over operations of
a struggling chain of 122 Woolco stores. Since that time the company has
constructed 255 additional or relocated stores and expanded 28 stores,
investing several billion dollars into the local economy and creating
approximately 100,000 in-store and construction trade jobs.
"Wal-Mart is a business of progress and opportunity," said Cheesewright.
"Our chain is growing, our team is growing, and the opportunities to be part
of a business at its best are growing." As the fourth-largest employer in
Canada, with a growing team of more than 75,000 associates, the company
estimates that the equivalent of one in 100 Canadians has at some point worked
for Wal-Mart. New format Wal-Mart Supercentres, require larger teams of
associates and management - a team of more than 500 in the case of the newly
opened 300th store, which received more than 3,500 job applications.
Supercentres also offer a larger assortment of merchandise, combining
Wal-Mart's traditionally strong general-merchandise selection with a full
assortment of groceries. Canada's first three Wal-Mart Supercentres opened in
Ontario in October, 2006. By day's end there will be 34 in three provinces -
Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
In Supercentres and across its entire chain, Wal-Mart Canada has made
significant improvements to its customers' shopping experience and to its
customers' favourite departments. Over the course of the past two years, the
company has revitalized and made major changes to departments like fashion,
electronics, home and housewares, health and beauty, and groceries.
"The evolution of our business has caught the attention of our customers
and led Canadians to become even more enthusiastic Wal-Mart shoppers," said
Cheesewright. "Our numbers show that about one in 30 Canadians walk through
our doors every day - and 95 per cent of those with access to a Wal-Mart store
visit us at least once every few months."
Wal-Mart Canada proudly introduced the concept of Everyday Low Prices to
the Canadian marketplace in 1994, ensuring that Canadians wouldn't have to
wait for sales, rebates or gimmicks to get the lowest prices on well-known
national brands. Fourteen years later, the company remains committed to giving
customers the products they want at the lowest prices.
"Retailers generally find their strength by committing to one or two
priorities," said Cheesewright. "Our strength has been the promise of price
and selection. On those measures, we're better than ever and focused on
continuous improvement. Fourteen years into our evolution our new stores offer
customers three times the selection we had in 1994, and we're more committed
than ever to saving Canadians money so they can live better. In fact, this
year is a record year for our famous 'Rollback' price cuts. In many ways,
we're just hitting our stride."
In addition to the core strategies of price and selection, Wal-Mart
Canada's 300th store illustrates various evolutionary changes to the company's
Sustainability: The 300th store includes reduced wattage and LED lighting
technology; higher efficiency systems for heating, ventilation, air
conditioning, and sales floor refrigeration; waste diversion and recycling
programs; more environmentally friendly construction materials like reflective
roofing and chemical-free concrete flooring; and a full assortment of
eco-friendly merchandise from bamboo apparel, to 250 organic grocery items, to
efficient CFL bulbs with fully recycled and recyclable packaging.
Store of the community: The 300th store is located in Mississauga,
Ontario, serving the most ethnically diverse market of any Wal-Mart store
nationwide. The need for Wal-Mart's "store of the community" approach -
providing services and products that reflect the tastes and traditions of the
local populations - is particularly appropriate in this market. The store's
welcome sign includes script in nine different dialects and merchandise has
been stocked to serve various cultural and ethnic tastes. For example, the
store stocks Halal tandoori rostiserie chicken, Punjab biscuits, 20 different
grains of rice, cricket sports equipment, various housewares, and
Bollywood-inspired movies and fashions, for the approximately 16 per cent of
the local customers who identify themselves as South Asian.
Store appearance and operations: From refreshed colours to new in-store
signage, the 300th store has a different appearance to prior stores,
representing a massive departure from the gray box stores of 1994. Single-line
queues with multiple cash registers, enhancements to the electronics
department to provide greater high-tech assistance, aisles widths, and new
"find the price here" price-check stations, all indicate a new and increased
attention to customer service.
About Wal-Mart Canada: Founded in 1994 and based in Mississauga, Ontario,
the company serves more than one million Canadians each day at 301 stores and
six Sam's Club locations. With more than 75,000 associates, the company is one
of Canada's largest employers and has repeatedly listed among the 50 Best
Companies to Work for in Canada, as published in Report on Business Magazine.
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
members of the media/
For further information:
For further information: Kevin Groh, Wal-Mart Canada, Director of
Corporate Affairs, (905) 821-2111 x. 8012