Walmart (WMT) says it will spend $330 million renovating 80 stores across the country this year, as the retail giant continues to pour billions of dollars into updating its store infrastructure.
Walmart Canada announced on Tuesday that it will spend $1 billion on major infrastructure projects in 2022, including on store renovations and the construction of a new $100 million fulfilment centre outside of Montreal. The investments are part of Walmart's previously announced plan that will see the company spend $3.5 billion to expand e-commerce capacity, build new distribution centres and update stores to become "smarter stores."
Walmart says the projects will "make the online and in-store shopping experience simpler, faster and more convenient for customers as the retailer invests for continued growth to help more Canadians save money and live better."
The store renovations will allow the retailer to expand its product assortment, while integrating more spaces within the store for online orders, a key area of focus for Walmart since the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many of its customers online. The company will also replace legacy systems with new technology, part of its push to create "smarter stores." There will also be aesthetic upgrades, including fresh paint, new signage and additional LED lighting in key departments.
Walmart will also spend $100 million building a new fulfilment centre in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., the company's first high-tech facility in the province. With enough space to store 500,000 items, the fulfilment centre will serve as a key delivery hub for orders in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Walmart says the facility will employ approximately 225 people.
"Quebecers will see refreshed stores, faster service and more options available in-store and online," Walmart Canada's regional vice-president for Quebec Cyrille Ballereau said in a statement.
The projects come as many retailers grapple with high inflation and cooling demand, and concerns mount about a recession.
But that hasn't deterred Walmart Canada from continuing with its $3.5 billion investment plan. Suresh Kumar, Walmart's chief technology officer and chief development officer, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance Canada this summer that the deployment of technology in-store, online and throughout the supply chain will be critical for the company, particularly in today's economic environment.
"Our mission is to help people save money so they can live better lives, and technology is not just an important part of that, it is in fact critical," Kumar said at the 2022 Collision tech conference.
"It's a critical enabler of us being able to meet that promise and to be able to fulfil that. Especially in this inflationary environment, it becomes really important to make sure that we can drive efficiencies in our system."
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.