Walmart Canada

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Walmart Canada Corp.
Type Discount department store
Industry Retail
Predecessors Woolco Canada
Founded 17 March 1994[1]
Headquarters Mississauga, Ontario
Number of locations 382 (148 discount stores and 234 supercentres) [2]
Key people Shelley Broader, President and CEO
Products Discount stores, hypermarkets, Optical, Pharmacy, Portrait Studio, Cell phone dealer
Revenue Undisclosed
Net income Undisclosed
Employees ~90,000 [3]
Parent Walmart
Website www.walmart.ca

Walmart Canada Corp. (French: La Compagnie Walmart du Canada) is the Canadian division of Walmart which is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. It was founded on March 17, 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, Real Canadian Superstore, Metro, Sobeys, Thrifty Foods, Safeway, Save-On-Foods, Country Grocer, Fairway Markets, Quality Foods, Co-Op and others.

Most Canadian Walmart stores have a pharmacy and McDonald's locations. As of 2012, Nunavut is the only territory in Canada that does not have a Walmart location.[4]

History[edit]

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. [5][6] The same year, these Woolco stores were renovated and converted into the Walmart banner.[5] Wal-Mart did not acquire the 22 other Woolco stores that were either unionized or had downtown locations. Some former Woolco stores were sold and re-opened as Zellers stores.[6]

A Walmart under renovations in Estevan, Saskatchewan

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".[7] 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”.[8]

Abandoned Former Wal-Mart in Kingston, Ontario

Beginning in the fall of 2006, Walmart opened new Supercentres in Canadian cities.[9] Walmart Canada also operated Sam's Club stores in Ontario from 2006 to 2009.[10] On February 26, 2009, they announced that it would close all six of its Canadian Sam's Club locations.[11][12][13] 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), all of which were well-established history in the country. Sam's Club also rebranded the two as yet unopened locations as new Walmart Superstores.

From originally taking over much of the Woolco chain, Walmart Canada has also expanded and opened new stores, including one in Saguenay-Lac-St.-Jean. It had grown to 260 stores by 2005, making it Canada's second-largest retail chain.[14]

A new Supercentre Walmart in Laval, Quebec, Canada

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.[15] Walmart Canada has managed to convert and reopen some of the former Zellers stores before Target Canada's launch.[16] Unlike Walmart's 1994 move into Canada, Walmart Canada this time did not guarantee the jobs of the employees whose stores they were acquiring.[8]

Walmart Canada launched the "Urban 90" format in 2012, a set of smaller Supercentres each averaging 90,000 square feet.[17]

Walmart Canada announced that 37 new supercentres will open by the end of this year.

Format[edit]

Discount stores in Canada[edit]

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.

Former Zellers
Walmart store in Gloucester (Ottawa), Ontario

Most stores have been converted into supercentres in the late 2000s.

Walmart St Catharines, Ontario (Former Woolco)
Walmart Cornwall Ontario 3
Walmart Cornwall Ontario

Supercentres in Canada[edit]

Vaughan Walmart Supercentre in Vaughan, Ontario.
Walmart Supercentre in Richmond Hill, Ontario
Walmart Canada - Laval, Quebec
Remodelled Walmart Supercentre in Brockville, Ontario
McDonald's inside Walmart - Brockville, Ontario

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 Hamilton, London, and Stouffville in Ontario.[18] Alberta became the second province with Supercentres the following year in September 2008.[19] 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.[20]

Walmart Supercentres range from 67,000 to 340,000 square feet (4,738.1 to 13,935.5 m2). Walmart Supercentres stock everything a Walmart Discount Store does, and also include a full-service supermarket, including meat and poultry, baked goods, delicatessen, frozen foods, dairy products, garden produce, and fresh seafood. Many Walmart Supercenters also have a garden centre, pet shop, pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, optical centre, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, a clinic and numerous Alcove shops, such as cellular phone stores, hair and nail salons, video rental stores (including Redbox rental kiosks), local bank branches, and fast food outlets, Walmart Canada Bank launched its application for banking licence in 2008 to compete with similar stores in Canada such as Loblaw.[21] On July 24, 2009, Walmart Canada Bank was incorporated under the Bank Act in Canada.[22]

Sam's Club (2006-2009)[edit]

Walmart Canada operated Sam's Club warehouse clubs in Ontario from 2006 to 2009.[10] On February 26, 2009, they announced that it would close all six of its Canadian Sam's Club locations.[11][12][13] 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.

Corporate[edit]

Community involvement[edit]

  • Raised and donated $7.6 million to Children's Miracle Network (CMN) to support children's hospitals across Canada.[23]
  • 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.[24]
  • 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.

Marketing[edit]

Slogans[edit]

  • 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

Controversy[edit]

Further information: Criticism of Walmart
Walmart in Moncton with former logo

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 (whom Walmart Canada overtook to become Canada's largest retailer[25]) 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 favour. 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".[26][27]

Labour[edit]

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[28] 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.[29]

A Walmart store in Windsor, Ontario, was unionized in 1997, but workers dissolved the union three years later after it failed to sign contract with management.[30]

Walmart - Centre Domaine Montreal, Quebec Mall Entrance - Former Zellers

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.[31] The UFCW argued that union card-signing was more democratic than secret votes because "when there is a vote Wal-Mart uses intimidation tactics".[7] In addition, Quebec's labour relations board had ordered Wal-Mart Canada to stop "intimidating and harassing" cashiers at a store in Ste. Foy, near Quebec City in the midst of an organizing drive.[8] Walmart has responded, mostly by shutting down unionized stores or stalling labour contract negotiations. For instance they 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.[32] Walmart also closed its automotive centre in Gatineau, Quebec, after employees unionized and an arbitrator imposed a 33 per cent wage increase.

There was the successful unionization by the UFCW of a Walmart store in Jonquière, Quebec in August 2004, as told in the documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. The initial card-check organizing efforts fell 1 vote short, and in April 2004 a secret ballot to join the union was defeated 53% to 47%. However, when a group of managers gathered just outside the front door to celebrate for the TV cameras and taunt union supporters as they left the store, this spectacle offended many of the workers that originally voted against the union and caused them to switch sides, leading to a second and successful card-check that unionized the store in August 2004. However, nine days of negotiation between the UFCW and Wal-Mart were fruitless, with the union accusing the company of not negotiating in good faith while Walmart argued that the union wanted the store to hire an additional 30 workers. Walmart closed the store five months later because the company did not approve of the new "business plan" a union would require, and this move was permitted by Quebec law as long as the closure was permanent. This labour dispute between Walmart and the UFCW made headlines worldwide,; three of the other 46 Walmarts in the province of Quebec were temporarily closed by bomb threats, while a TV broadcaster likened Wal-Mart to Nazi Germany, and Saguenay mayor Jean Tremblay denounced the company as a "freebooting scofflaw". Walmart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. argued that the Jonquière store was struggling, while polls in Canada showed that 9 of 10 Canadians believed that the store closure was mainly due to the unionization. A local newspaper columnist accused the UFCW leaders in Washington of using the Jonquière store workers (in a city with chronically high unemployment, and whose stores had been wiped out by the opening of the Place du Royaume shopping mall in Chicoutimi) as "cannon fodder" to provoke a fight in order to incite public opinion against the Walmart, knowing that Walmart headquarters would not tolerate a unionized store.[14][33] 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.[34] Union organizers suggested that Walmart was making an example of the Jonquière store to pressure workers at other locations not to unionize.[9]

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.[35] 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.[31] 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.[36][37]

Wal-Mart employees in Gatineau, Quebec 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.[38]

On August 15, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada cleared the way for Walmart employees in Weyburn, Saskatchewan 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.[39]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Walmart celebrates 20 years in Canada". CTV.ca. 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  2. ^ Walmart Corporate
  3. ^ http://walmartcanada.ca/Pages/Company%20Profile/168/163/163
  4. ^ Store locator
  5. ^ a b Walmart Canada signs deal with Target Canada for 39 Zellers locations
  6. ^ Plus grande offensive de Wal-Mart au Canada en 13 ans
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b Zellers employees walk away empty-handed in $1.825-billion deal Zellers employees walk away empty-handed in $1.825-billion deal.
  9. ^ Walmart Canada bets big on supercenters
  10. ^ a b Wal-Mart Canada closing all 6 Sam's Club locations
  11. ^ a b Georgiades, Andy (February 26, 2009). "Walmart Canada to Close Sam's Club Division". The Wall Street Journal. 
  12. ^ a b "Walmart Canada to close six Ontario Sam's Club locations to focus on supercenter expansion" (Press release). Walmart Canada. February 26, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b Flavelle, Dana (February 26, 2009). "Walmart to close all Canadian Sam's Club stores". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 26, 2009. 
  14. ^ a b Bianco, Anthony. "No Union Please, We're Walmart." Business Week. February 13, 2006. Retrieved on July 26, 2006.
  15. ^ The Canadian Press (2011-06-24). "Walmart picks up 39 Zellers sites from Target". CBC.ca. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  16. ^ The Star (Toronto) http://www.thestar.com/business/2012/08/23/walmart_beats_target_to_the_punch_in_canada.html |url= missing title (help). 
  17. ^ Walmart goes small with “Urban 90″ Supercentre
  18. ^ Wal-Mart unveils plans to open up to 14 supercentres in 2010
  19. ^ Walmart shifts to Supercenters in Alberta
  20. ^ Wal-Mart cracks Vancouver market with Grandview store
  21. ^ Wal-Mart files for Canadian banking licence
  22. ^ Canada Gazette – GOVERNMENT NOTICES
  23. ^ Walmart Canada Fact Sheet
  24. ^ Walmart Canada and Evergreen Continue Green Grants Partnership
  25. ^ Krauss, Clifford (March 10, 2005). "For Labor, a Wal-Mart Store Closing in Canada Is a Call to Arms". The New York Times. 
  26. ^ CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2005/06/29/bc_walmart20050629.html |url= missing title (help). 
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^ Walmart Workers Canada
  29. ^ [3]
  30. ^ Krauss, Clifford (March 10, 2005). "For Labor, a Wal-Mart Store Closing in Canada Is a Call to Arms". The New York Times. 
  31. ^ a b [4]
  32. ^ Walmart allowed to close unionized Saguenay store: SCOC | CTV Montreal News
  33. ^ Staff Writer. "Walmart faces Canadian labour clash." MSNBC. April 30, 2006. Retrieved on July 26, 2006.[dead link]
  34. ^ Austen, Ian. "Quebec panel rejects Walmart store closing." International Herald Tribune. September 20, 2005. Retrieved on March 2, 2007.
  35. ^ "Unionized Quebec Walmart workers get 1st contract - Ottawa - CBC News". [dead link]
  36. ^ CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2013/08/16/sk-weyburn-decertification-votes-counted-today-1308.html |url= missing title (help). 
  37. ^ The Star (Toronto) http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2011/03/08/walmart_workers_hope_to_show_their_union_the_door.html |url= missing title (help). 
  38. ^ [5]
  39. ^ CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2013/08/16/sk-weyburn-decertification-votes-counted-today-1308.html |url= missing title (help). 

External links[edit]