|Type||Discount department store|
|Predecessor(s)||Woolco and Zellers|
|Number of locations||380 (165 discount stores and 215 supercentres) |
|Key people||Shelley Broader, President and CEO|
|Products||Discount stores, hypermarkets, Optical, Pharmacy, Portrait Studio, Cell phone dealer|
|Parent||Wal-Mart Stores, Inc|
The Walmart Canada Corporation (French: La Compagnie Walmart du Canada) is the Canadian division of Walmart which is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. It was founded in 1994 with the purchase of the Woolco Canada chain from F. W. Woolworth Company.
Originally consisting of discount stores, Walmart Canada's contemporaries include Zellers (before most of its leases were taken over by Target Corporation) and then Target Canada from 2013–present, Hart Stores, and Giant Tiger. It also competes in many areas with Canadian Tire and Sears Canada. Walmart Canada's six Sam's Club stores (2006-2009, only in Ontario) competed with warehouse club Costco and hypermarket Real Canadian Superstore, respectively. Based on the success of the US format, Walmart Canada has focused on expanding Supercentres from new or converted locations, offering groceries which puts them in the same market as supermarket chains such as Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys, Thrifty Foods, Safeway, Save-On-Foods, Country Grocer, Fairway Markets, Quality Foods, Mike Dean's Super Food Stores, Co-Op and others.
Walmart Canada was established in 1994 from the acquisition by Walmart Stores Inc. of 122 Canadian leases of Woolco, a troubled subsidiary of Woolworth Canada.  The same year, these Woolco stores were renovated and converted into the Walmart banner. Wal-Mart did not acquire the Woolco stores that were either unionized or had downtown locations. Some former Woolco stores were sold and re-opened as Zellers stores.
All 16,000 former employees from the Woolco stores that Walmart acquired were retained, extensively retrained, and given a five percent raise. Mario Pilozzi, a senior vice-president at Woolco when the deal was signed eventually became CEO of Walmart Canada. Pilozzi, who retired in 2008, has proclaimed that he and "his management team took a limping chain and turned it into the Wal-Mart powerhouse that became a game-changer on the Canadian business scene. Retailers changed, Canadian manufactures faced demands and volumes they had not seen before, real estate transitioned from enclosed malls to big-box plazas". Reflecting on the 1994 deal in 2013, a Walmart Canada spokesman was quoted as saying "Even though Woolco had seen better days and was struggling, there was still an enormous amount of talent in that company. I think that is one of the reasons Walmart has succeeded in Canada, is because we started with a fantastic team that we re-motivated”.
Beginning in the fall of 2006, Walmart opened new Supercentres in Canadian cities. Walmart Canada also operated Sam's Club stores in Ontario from 2006 to 2009. On February 26, 2009, they announced that it would close all six of its Canadian Sam's Club locations. This was part of Walmart Canada's decision to shift focus towards supercenter stores, but some industry observers suggested that the operation was struggling in competition with Costco and the non-membership The Real Canadian Superstore (known as Maxi & Cie in Quebec), that had a well-established history in the country. Sam's Club also rebranded the two as yet unopened locations as new Walmart Superstores.
In 2011, Walmart Canada acquired the leases of 39 Zellers stores from Target Corporation, originally one of the 189 leaseholds purchased from Hudson's Bay Company and slated for conversion to Target Canada stores. Walmart Canada has managed to convert and reopen some of the former Zellers stores before Target Canada's launch. Unlike Walmart's 1994 move into Canada, Walmart Canada this time did not guarantee the jobs of the employees whose stores they were acquiring.
Walmart Canada launched the "Urban 90" format in 2012, a set of smaller Supercentres each averaging 90,000 square feet. By the end of this year,
Walmart Canada announced that 37 new supercentres will open.
Discount stores in Canada
Walmart Discount Stores are discount department stores with size varying from 51,000 to 150,000 square feet (4,738.1 to 13,935.5 m2), with an average store covering about 102,000 square feet (9,476.1 m2). They carry general merchandise and a selection of dried goods. Many of these stores also have a garden centre, a pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, optical centre, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, a bank branch, a cell phone store and a fast food outlet, usually McDonald's (although stores that are in former Zellers locations typically do not contain a McDonald's). Walmart Discount Stores carry limited grocery items.
Most stores have been converted into supercentres in the late 2000s.
Supercentres in Canada
With the success of both Walmart in Canada and Walmart Supercenters in the United States, it was announced in late 2005 that the Supercentre concept would be arriving in Canada. On November 8, 2006, Canada's first three Supercenteres opened in Ancaster, London, and Stouffville in Ontario. Alberta became the second province with Supercentres the following year in September 2008. The first Supercentre in Vancouver, British Columbia opened in January 2009 in a former Costco/Price Club location which moved to a new larger site nearby in Burnaby.
- Saint John - The East Saint John Mall District
- Fredericton - Two Nations Crossing & The Regent Mall
- Greater Moncton - Trinity Shopping Centre, Champlain Place
- Halifax - 6990 Mumford Road & 220 Chain Lake Dartmouth: 90 Lamont Terrace Bedford/Sackville: 141 Damascus
Sam's Club (2006-2009)
Walmart Canada operated Sam's Club warehouse clubs in Ontario from 2006 to 2009. On February 26, 2009, they announced that it would close all six of its Canadian Sam's Club locations. Sam's Club also rebranded the two as yet unopened locations as new Walmart Superstores. This was part of Walmart Canada's decision to shift focus towards supercenter stores. Some industry observers suggested that the Canadian Sam's Club never enjoyed the success of its American counterpart due to competition with Costco and the non-membership The Real Canadian Superstore (known as Maxi & Cie in Quebec), as both chains that had a well-established history in Canada while Sam's Club was a late entrant.
- Raised and donated $7.6 million to Children's Miracle Network (CMN) to support children's hospitals across Canada.
- Contributed $2.9 million to more than 1,000 local non-profit organizations through Walmart's Local Matching Grant program.
- Raised and contributed $2.8 million for the Breakfast for Learning Canada program, a school nutrition program and partnership with a goal to ensure all school children attend class well nourished and ready to learn.
- Became the top corporate sponsor of the Canadian Red Cross, with $1 million in relief aid related to Hurricane Katrina, the India earthquake and other projects.
- Donated $300,000 to Evergreen, a Canadian non-profit environmental organization to help community groups create and improve green space in urban areas across the country.
- Awarded $115,000 in scholarships to Canadian university and college students.
- Supported 150 Canadian schools through a number of programs including Walmart Canada's Adopt-a School program.
- Where Everyday Costs Less 1994-1995
- Always Low Prices. Always Wal-Mart. 1995-1998
- We Sell For Less Everyday 1998-2009.
- Save Money. Live Better. 2009–Present
Like its American parent, Walmart Canada has been criticized for using low prices to drive out rivals and local businesses. Within ten years of Walmart's entry into Canada, well-established retailer chains such as Zellers, The Bay, and Sears Canada have struggled, with Kmart Canada being sold to Zellers while Eaton's filed for bankruptcy. The continued difficulties of competing against Walmart Canada eventually led to HBC selling the leases of most Zellers stores to Target Canada.
In June 2005, Vancouver city council voted 8-3 to reject Wal-Mart's proposal to build its first store in the city, a 143,000-square-foot store on Southeast Marine Drive. All eight COPE councillors against the project, while Mayor Larry Campbell and NPA councillors Sam Sullivan and Peter Ladner were in favor. Wal-Mart's proposed store was designed by local architect Peter Busby for sustainable development, with windmills generating power and underground wells heating and cooling the building which would consume 1/3 the energy of a normal store, and it was endorsed by city planners and staffers. Councillor Anne Roberts stated that her opposition was due to potential traffic and congestion that the store would bring to South Vancouver, although she later remarked "I'm not a fan of Wal-Mart, and I've always been concerned about their labour practices, about getting goods from sweatshops".
Like its American parent, Walmart Canada has been the subject of criticism that it has engaged in practices that discourage associates from exercising their right to join a union and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.
Walmart Canada has been accused of undermining internet rights and freedom of speech, as a result of its June 2009 decision to seek an injunction against the Walmart Workers Canada campaign and its longstanding Walmart Workers Canada website in particular, a labour rights website sponsored by United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada (UFCW Canada).
In Saskatchewan, Walmart fought unionization drivers at stores in Weyburn and North Battleford. The company's tactics eventually resulted in the Labour Relations Board imposing a fine and ordering them to hand over relevant documents, including the anti-union handbook for managers.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which had long been unsuccessful in unionizing Walmarts in the United States and much of Canada, was able to take advantage of Quebec's union-friendly laws to make some progress. These laws permits card-check organizing, which gives unions more power than secret ballot organizing used in the rest of Canada, and mandates arbitration if the two sides fail to reach a contract. In response Walmart closed their Saguenay, Quebec store, in April 2005 after workers unionized and just days before contract settlement by binding arbitration, putting 190 employees out of work. Walmart argued that the store wasn’t profitable and the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed 6-3 on November 27, 2009 that the company had the legal right to close the store. Walmart also closed its automotive centre in Gatineau, Quebec, after employees unionized and an arbitrator imposed a 33 per cent wage increase.
The documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, shows one successful unionization of a Walmart store in Jonquière, Quebec (Canada) in 2004, but Walmart closed the store five months later because the company did not approve of the new "business plan" a union would require. In September 2005, the Québec Labour Board ruled that the closing of a Walmart store amounted to a reprisal against unionized workers and has ordered additional hearings on possible compensation for the employees, though it offered no details.
At the Saint-Hyacinthe Walmart, the 200 employees had organized successfully in January 2005 but contract negotiations stalled and an arbitrator was called in, finally reaching a two-year deal on April 9, 2009. However the Saint-Hyacinthe contract was seen largely as a Pyrrhic victory for the UFCW, as the arbitrator portrayed "Wal-Mart as at least as good an employer-even a superior employer- compared with other retailers", noting that Walmart workers were paid more than their counterparts at Zellers. The union's calls for wage and benefit increases were all rejected, particularly their demand for an automatic-progression annual wage scales, as that would have conflicted with the company-wide annual performance evaluation, a key component of Walmart's business model. The arbitrator awarded existing workers (but not new hires) a small wage gain of 30¢ an hour to prevent them from being "impoverished" by dues paid to a union that failed to justify wages increases to the arbitrator. In 2011, the Saint-Hyacinthe Walmart employees voted (147 out of 250) to decertify United Food and Commercial Workers as their representative union; it has been suggested that employees were disappointed in their union whose 2009 contract was tilted strongly in favor of their employer.
Wal-Mart employees in Gatineau, Que. joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) in 2008. This was followed by two years of stalled negotiations before an arbitrator imposed a collective agreement. In November 2011, after one year with their first collective agreement, the 150 Wal-Mart employees voted to decertify.
On August 15, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada cleared the way for Wal-Mart employees in Weyburn, Sask. who voted 51-5 to decertify United Food and Commercial Workers as their representative union. This left no unionized Wal-Mart stores in the whole of Canada.
- Walmart Corporate
- Store locator
- Walmart Canada signs deal with Target Canada for 39 Zellers locations
- Plus grande offensive de Wal-Mart au Canada en 13 ans
- Zellers employees walk away empty-handed in $1.825-billion deal Zellers employees walk away empty-handed in $1.825-billion deal.
- Walmart Canada bets big on supercenters
- Wal-Mart Canada closing all 6 Sam's Club locations
- Georgiades, Andy (February 26, 2009). "Walmart Canada to Close Sam's Club Division". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Walmart Canada to close six Ontario Sam's Club locations to focus on supercenter expansion" (Press release). Walmart Canada. February 26, 2009.
- Flavelle, Dana (February 26, 2009). "Walmart to close all Canadian Sam's Club stores". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
- The Canadian Press (2011-06-24). "Walmart picks up 39 Zellers sites from Target". CBC.ca. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- Walmart goes small with “Urban 90″ Supercentre
- Wal-Mart unveils plans to open up to 14 supercentres in 2010
- Walmart shifts to Supercenters in Alberta
- Wal-Mart cracks Vancouver market with Grandview store
- Wal-Mart files for Canadian banking licence
- Canada Gazette – GOVERNMENT NOTICES
- Walmart Canada Fact Sheet
- Walmart Canada and Evergreen Continue Green Grants Partnership
- Walmart Workers Canada
- Walmart allowed to close unionized Saguenay store: SCOC | CTV Montreal News
- Bianco, Anthony. "No Union Please, We're Walmart." Business Week. February 13, 2006. Retrieved on July 26, 2006.
- Staff Writer. "Walmart faces Canadian labour clash." MSNBC. April 30, 2006. Retrieved on July 26, 2006.[dead link]
- Austen, Ian. "Quebec panel rejects Walmart store closing." International Herald Tribune. September 20, 2005. Retrieved on March 2, 2007.
- Unionized Quebec Walmart workers get 1st contract - Ottawa - CBC News
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