First Former Zellers Location to Reopen as a Walmart

  • Store opens ahead of schedule
  • First Zellers location nationwide to reopen as a new store
  • Unique 69,000 square foot Walmart Canada store
  • 18th of 73 Walmart Canada projects to be completed this year
Mississauga, ON, August 24, 2012 – Today at a grand opening ceremony, Walmart Canada opened the first of 39 former Zellers locations that will be converted to a Walmart store. The 69,000 square-foot store located at 1111 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario is a one-stop shopping destination dedicated to every day low prices. 

Customers will appreciate the store’s updated design, which includes easy-to-navigate aisles with directional signage, and a bright interior colour palette, which help define the store’s merchandise areas, and lower shelving throughout for an improved sightline. In addition, a pharmacy has been added to the store making it even easier for customers to find everything they need.

“This store has an atypical footprint for a Walmart and is much smaller than most of the stores in our network,” said Ken Farrell, vice president 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.

“The renovations, hiring and merchandising were all completed ahead of schedule,” said Jim Thompson, chief of operations at Walmart Canada. “This was truly a phenomenal team effort. Our goal is to complete the Zellers conversions as soon as possible to minimize the disruption to former Zellers customers, and the new store team did an outstanding job at our Newmarket location.”

New Jobs
The Newmarket East Walmart employs 69 associates. To fill these positions, Walmart received 1,800 applications for roles such as cashiers, sales associates, and other hourly positions. Store Manager David Mann is an example of the professional growth Walmart can offer. He began his career at Walmart as an assistant manager in 2004 and was promoted to store manager earlier this year.

Commitment to sustainability
Walmart continues to show its responsibility to energy efficiency, renewable energy and environmental sustainability. The store features LED exterior signage, waste diversion streams including paper and plastic and environmentally-preferable products.

Community involvement
As part of Walmart’s mission to helping Canadian families in need, $2,000 in donations will be presented to community organizations including a local women’s shelter and a local food bank. The store will build on these donations with additional charitable and community support and fundraising throughout the year. 

Block party
Grand opening festivities will continue on Saturday. The store will be hosting its Grand Opening Block Party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customers can enjoy live music, children’s face painting, refreshments and samples.

New store manager
David Mann is excited to lead the Newmarket East Walmart team as the new store manager. David has worked in retail for more than eight years. David is eager to begin working with local community groups and projects.

“We have been working around the clock preparing for the arrival of our first customers," said David Mann, Newmarket East store manager. “We hope that everyone that used to shop here when it was a Zellers will be happy with the changes to the store, merchandise and of course, our low prices.”

By the numbers
The Newmarket Store:

•    69 associates
•    1,800 job applications received
•    69,000 square feet of retail space
•    337th Walmart Canada store
•    75,000 products available in store
•    65 days to completely renovate to the store

Across Canada:

•    1,500 – 8,000 job applications are received for each new Walmart store in Canada
•    4,000 new positions created at Walmart Canada this year.
•    73 projects in the company’s expansion plan this fiscal year (ending January 31, 2013)
•    $750 million invested for the 73 projects
•    18 of 73 projects completed to date (including this store)
•    156 discount stores and 181 supercentres stores with full complement of fresh groceries
•    337 Walmart stores total in Canada
•    $15.4 billon paid to Canadian suppliers in 2011

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About Walmart Canada
Walmart Canada was established in 1994 with the acquisition of the Woolco chain. Over the past 18 years, Walmart Canada has more than doubled the number of stores in Canada and more than tripled the number of associates, creating a strong, stable retail chain which offers career opportunities.

Walmart Canada operates a growing chain of discount stores and supercentres with 337 locations nationwide serving more than one million customers each day. With 90,000 associates, Walmart Canada is one of Canada’s largest employers and is recognized by Waterstone Human Capital as having one of Canada's top 10 corporate cultures. Walmart Canada is focused on helping Canadian families in need. Since 1994, Walmart has donated and raised more than $160 million to Canadian charities and not-for-profit organizations.

For more information contact:
Felicia Fefer, Corporate Affairs, Walmart Canada, 905 821 2111 ext. 74466

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Twitter: @walmartcanada