Despite the ongoing pandemic, Walmart is ponying up big bucks — $3.5 billion — to revamp stores in Canada and to modernize in-store technology.
In a press release, Walmart said its five-year plan aims to “to generate significant growth and to make the online and in-store shopping experience simpler, faster and more convenient for Walmart’s customers.” In particular, the retail giant is looking to boost its eCommerce business.
“Millions of customers choose to shop with us in-store and online every day,” said Horacio Barbeito, president and CEO of 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’re challenging ourselves to be better and be relentlessly focused on excellent omni customer service and experience,” said Sam Wankowski, chief operations officer, Walmart Canada. “This means better stores, quicker service and ... focusing on customers," he added.
Walmart said it would put $1.1 billion from the revamp fund into building two new distribution centers, one in Ontario and another in British Columbia, integrating “next-generation automation and technology” that includes “machine learning.”
As part of that $1.1 billion investment, the world’s largest retailer said it would also renovate an existing distribution center in Cornwall, Ontario, which would “manage apparel, health and beauty, and other small general merchandise items.” With a similar modernization in technology, the distribution center is slated to open in early 2020.
Walmart said it plans to renovate over 150 stores, more than a third of its network — while upgrading the technology with shelf scanners, robots and more convenient self-checkout options.
The pandemic has triggered an increase in shopping at grocery stores. This includes a surge in online shopping, as consumers sought to limit any possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Walmart is on a roll. The retail giant is going head-to-head with Amazon over shopping apps and delivery setups.
The company is launching a new subscription service, Walmart+, that will include everything from same-day delivery for grocery and general merchandise to discounts and early access to deals.