Walmart slows Canadian expansion

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced it would invest $340 million to expand in Canada in 2015. The number is lower that what was budgeted for growth in 2014.

The company will spend about $230 million of the investment to complete 29 supercenters, which includes adding grocery departments to several already existing stores, reported the Globe and Mail. Currently there are 11 supercenters across the country.

Money will also be used to expand its distribution network and online sales. The company is planning for 309 supercenters in total by January 2016.

Last year, Walmart announced it would spend $500 million in Canada. And in January, the company pledged to open 11 new supercenters by Jan. 29, in time for the end of the current fiscal year.

The expansion is expected to generate 3,700 construction jobs, 1,000 in-store jobs and 300 distribution center jobs, reported the Toronto Star.

The move comes less than a month after Target (NYSE:TGT) announced it would shutter all Canadian stores. And Sears (NYSE:SHLD) last year said it would lower the number of stores in Canada after failing to find a buyer.

Analysts say that Walmart will likely pick up some of the stores vacated by Target, but the retail giant has not denied or confirmed these speculations.

Walmart has been busy expanding other offerings and services in Canada. In December, the company announced that it added 33 new Grab and Go lockers in the greater Toronto area to help with holiday shopping. The retailer's first set of lockers was installed at 10 locations in the Toronto area back in August as part of an initiative to reach customers at both physical and digital locations. Also, last spring, Walmart Canada introduced low-cost legal services in select locations throughout Toronto.

For more:
-See this Globe and Mail article
-See this Toronto Star article

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