MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 17, 2014 /CNW/ - It was 20 years ago today that Walmart officially entered the Canadian marketplace on March 17, 1994 with the purchase of the Woolco Canada chain of retail stores. Starting with a base of 122 Woolco stores and 16,000 employees, Walmart Canada has grown to 389 stores and more than 95,000 associates across the nation.
To mark its 20-year milestone, Walmart Canada will conduct a range of initiatives throughout the coming year to celebrate its customers, associates and charity partners in Canada.
As part of the 20-year celebrations, the retailer announced today that it will host The Lowering the Cost of Living Summit this fall, a national event designed to generate new thinking and solutions and bring new attention to improving the financial health of Canadians.
"Our mission is to save Canadians money so that they can live better," said Shelley Broader, president and CEO of Walmart Canada. "As we enter our 20th year in Canada, we want to help find new ways to help lower the cost of living for Canadians."
According to a recent nationwide poll conducted by Research Management Group (RMG), more than one third of Canadians (36%) feel they can only afford to pay for the basic necessities, and more than two in five (43%) feel they tend to live from paycheque to paycheque. The RMG survey was conducted for Walmart in late February and was based on interviews with 1,011 Canadians.
"In addition to this poll, our consumer research shows that 72% of Canadian moms -- our core customer -- say that Walmart is the top retailer to help them stay on budget," said Ms. Broader. "We want to build on this commitment to find new ways to make life easier for our customers."
Walmart Canada will host The Lowering the Cost of Living Summit in Toronto in the fall of 2014. The event will bring together a broad range of stakeholders including consumers, business leaders, financial specialists, academics, economists, non-governmental organizations and government representatives to examine real solutions to help Canadian families tackle their financial challenges.
The full day summit will feature plenary sessions, panels, workshops and networking events designed to stimulate new ideas and the sharing of best practices. Event details will be released over the coming months.
During the past 20 years, Walmart Canada has:
- Made payments of more than $100 billion to suppliers in Canada.
- Paid out close to $1 billion in bonuses to Canadian associates.
- Raised and donated more than $200 million to Canadian charities.
- Become Canada's largest donor to the Canadian Red Cross, the Breakfast Club of Canada, and the Children's Miracle Network.
- Launched a game-changing environmental sustainability strategy focused on achieving zero waste, operating with 100 per cent renewable energy, and leadership in sustainable products.
- Launched a ground-breaking "Women in Retail" program to promote female talent at Walmart Canada which has been adopted at Walmart in 27 countries throughout the world.
- Introduced everyday low pricing to the Canadian retail marketplace to help lower the cost of living for Canadians.
- Launched the most extensive price surveys in Canada comparing more than 140,000 prices every week across the retail industry to help drive prices down.
- Achieved a price gap of 8 to 20 percent compared to conventional grocers.
- Introduced more than 30 private brands to help Canadians save money including George, Great Value, Our Finest, Your Fresh Market, Kid Connection, and the IT Brand.
- Launched the online store walmart.ca, one of the most popular sites in Canada.
- Been recognized as one of Canada's best places to work in more than 10 key rankings.
About Walmart Canada
Walmart Canada operates a growing chain of 389 stores nationwide serving more than 1.2 million customers each day. Walmart Canada's flagship online store, www.walmart.ca, is visited by 300,000 customers daily. With more than 95,000 associates, Walmart Canada is one of Canada's largest employers and is ranked one of the country's top 10 most influential brands. Walmart Canada's extensive philanthropy program is focused on helping Canadian families in need, and since 1994 Walmart has donated and raised more than $200 million to Canadian charities. Additional information can be found at walmartcanada.ca, facebook.com/walmartcanada and at twitter.com/@walmartcanada.
SOURCE: Walmart Canada
For further information: Rosalyn Carneiro, 905 821-2111 ext. 74240 or Andrew Pelletier, ext. 74585