Wal-Mart readies fresh-food fight with Target in Canada

Posted: January 23, 2013 at 9:07 a.m.

— Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to expand its fresh-food offerings to every store in Canada from about 50 percent now as it takes on grocer Loblaw Cos. and girds for Target Corp.’s arrival in the country this year.

Wal-Mart will add food sections to stores in Canada’s Maritime provinces this year and plans to increase its food line to as many stores as possible, Shelley Broader, 48, chief executive officer and president of Wal-Mart’s Canadian unit, said in an interview Tuesday at Bloomberg’s Toronto office.

“The addition of fresh food through supercenters a few years ago has really not only driven our growth trajectory in Canada, but it is really meeting the needs of the consumer base that was underserved,” Broader said. “I would like to put fresh food in every facility that I can.”

The Bentonville-based retailer, said Tuesday that it will spend $454 million to build new stores and renovate other locations in Canada, adding at least 37 superstores in the next year to the 379 current locations.

The fresh food expansion allows Wal-Mart to set it apart from Target, which is more focused on clothing and housewares. Target, based in Minneapolis, plans to open about 125 Canadian stores starting in March or April in its first expansion outside the U.S.