A Thornhill, Ont. Walmart Canada store has been revamped to enhance the customer shopping experience. The redesigned store is part of a larger $3.5 billion investment announced earlier this year that will stores across the country undergo changes over the next five years.
Sam Hamam, senior director, licensees, partnerships, Walmart Canada, says the Thornhill store features several “firsts” that focus on local community and health and wellness and will be used as models for future store renovations.
“In addition to a completely new look, with new signage, colours and lighting, we have new partnerships with licensees, including Esther’s Kosher Bakery, which is a first from scratch bakery in a Walmart. Products are made from scratch on site. It is the first for us to cater to a local community and because it’s a Kosher-certified operation, it is closed on Friday and Saturday to respect the Jewish Sabbath.”
Hamam says it’s a model Walmart can replicate in other stores with other licensees.
“For instance, we could set up an Italian bakery or a Vietnamese bakery to reflect local community needs.”
A second change likely to be replicated in future stores is a partnership with health and wellness company GNC.
“GNC is located next to our pharmacy. Customers can place GNC products in their basket and pay with all of the other products from different departments in the store. The GNC location has a GNC employee on site and it’s a way to bring up the credibility of health and wellness in our stores,” says Hamam.
The GNC store is part of a broader health and wellness offering at the Thornhill store that includes the first licensed optical store, KW Optique, which Hamam says gives Walmart an opportunity to offer higher end brands in addition to other brands offered at the store, and a multi-disciplinary medical clinic, Jack Nathan Health.
The Thornhill location also includes updated signage in the parking lot and on the outside of the building for Walmart’s fast-growing click and collect service.
“We want to provide a one-stop shop for customers. Our overall messaging is that we’re investing in all of our stores to make sure they look good and provide the best possible shopping experience. Every store will be treated differently, and we’ll get to a point in which there will be something specific being offered for each of the stores’ neighbourhood,” adds Hamam.