July 20, 2020 / 12:29 PM / 20 days ago

Walmart Canada to spend C$3.5 billion on e-commerce push, store renovations

FILE PHOTO: People shop at a Walmart Supercentre amid coronavirus fears spreading in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

(Reuters) - Walmart Canada (WMT.N) said on the Monday it plans to spend C$3.5 billion ($2.58 billion) over the next five years to strengthen its e-commerce business, as the COVID-19 pandemic prompts a large-scale shift to online shopping.

The Canadian arm of the world’s largest retailer also said it would renovate over 150 stores, more than a third of its network, to add more equipment such as shelf scanners, robots and more convenient self check-out options.

Walmart, like many other grocery retailers, has seen a surge in online demand as consumers limit trips outside their homes. The company’s online business grew 74% in the first quarter ended April 30.

As part of the investment, Walmart also said it would spend C$1.1 billion on building two new distribution centers and promised to create hundreds of construction and supply chain jobs across Canada.

Walmart Canada added that it would expand in-store pick-up to about 270 stores – or 70% of locations – by end of 2020.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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