Walmart Canada plans to invest $3.5-billion over the next five years with a focus on technology to make so-called “smarter stores.”
“The investment will impact every aspect of the business,” the company said in a statement Monday, adding it comes as its Canadian business grows, with grocery and e-commerce gaining “significant momentum.”
The spending includes $1.1-billion to build two new distribution centres in Vaughan, Ont., and Surrey, B.C., as well as to renovate an existing facility in Cornwall, Ont.
The investment will create hundreds of construction jobs in Canada and forge partnerships with Canadian high-tech companies, Walmart Canada said.
It said it will also renovate 150 stores, or more than one-third of its total network of more than 400 stores in the country, over the next three years.
It plans to accelerate digitization to make its stores smarter, which will include expanding electronic shelf labels and shelf scanners to monitor product volumes.
Walmart Canada will revamp checkouts with larger self-checkouts and also provide employees with technology to allow customers to check out items from anywhere in the store.
The company said it will also expand robotics and computer vision cameras, which will help with efficiency and accuracy.
Walmart Canada also aims to offer a complete merchandise pick-up service at about 270 branches, or 70 per cent of its locations in Canada, by the end of this year.
It will pilot what it called hybrid locations that have micro-fulfilment centres in an effort to increase pickup and delivery order speeds.
The investment will ensure Walmart Canada develops an enviable supply chain, John Bayliss, senior vice-president of logistics and supply chain, said in a statement.
“The better the supply chain, the quicker our customers can get the products they want.”
Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.