Walmart gets jump on Target in Canada

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — The first of 39 former Zellers stores Walmart bought from Target in Canada celebrated its grand opening as a Walmart store earlier this month.

According to Walmart Canada, the 69,000 sq. ft. store located in Newmarket, Ontario, will feature easy-to-navigate aisles with directional signage, and a bright interior color palette to define the store's merchandise areas along with lower shelving to improve sightlines. The store will also conain a pharmacy.

"This store has an atypical footprint for a Walmart and is much smaller than most of the stores in our network," said Ken Farrell, vp of store development at Walmart Canada. "We worked within the existing footprint to design the store to fit the space and look and feel like a typical Walmart."

The Newmarket East store is one of 73 projects planned for the company's current fiscal year, which will add 4.6 million square feet of retail space to its operations by January 31, 2013. The 73 projects include building new stores and expanding, remodelling or relocating existing stores and represent an investment of more than $750 million in Canadian communities. Included in these projects are 39 former Zellers stores. The 73 projects are expected to generate more than 14,000 store, trade and construction jobs.

Meanwhile, Target is on track to open 125 stores next year in former Zeller's location. The company is said to be in the assortment planning process and working to edit the merchandise mix to accommodate the slightly smaller footprint of the Canadian locations.

The first round of openings are due for the March or April time frame in the greater Toronto area.


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