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Michael Knell

Wal-Mart Canada launches C$750 million expansion project

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Wal-Mart Canada has announced it will spend some C$750 million over the next 12 months on about 73 projects across Canada that will result in the addition of some 4.6 million square feet of retail space.

In a statement, the big box discounter said it will build new stores and expand, remodel and relocate a number of existing stores.

Included in the 73 projects are the 39 former Zellers stores that Wal-Mart acquired in June from the Hudson's Bay Company. All will reopen as Wal-Mart stores during its current fiscal year, which ends Jan. 31, 2013.

The company also said more than half of these projects will be part of its supercenter program while the balance will be discount stores. Wal-Mart supercenters offer groceries in addition to the company's general merchandise program, which includes promotionally priced furniture.

"This is an exciting year for Wal-Mart Canada," company President and CEO Shelley Broader said in a statement. "We are proud of our 18-year record of growth, and of the investment we make in the Canadian economy. As the country's fastest growing retailer, every year we create thousands of new jobs, spend billions of dollars with Canadian suppliers, and invest millions in Canadian communities."

At the end of its 2011 fiscal year, Wal-Mart Canada operated 333 stores, including 164 supercenters. A year from now, the store count is expected to top 375.

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