Wal-Mart Canada to discontinue Ontario Sam's Club format

MISSISSAUGA, ON Wal-Mart Canada announced that it will discontinue its Ontario Sam's Club format in March to focus on its popular and expanding supercenter format and discount-store business.

The announcement will affect the company's six Sam's Club locations in Pickering, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, London, Cambridge and Etobicoke.

Wal-Mart Canada said it would open 26 additional supercenters that include expansions of existing stores, relocations, and new stores. This will bring the number of Canadian supercenters to 82 and Wal-Mart Canada's overall store count to 316 by the end of the year. "Customer response to our supercentres has been very strong," said David Cheesewright, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Canada. "Today's announcement will allow us to focus our resources on growing this popular one-stop format at a time when Canadians are relying on Wal-Mart more than ever to help them save money during challenging economic times." Wal-Mart Canada confirmed it is in discussions with a major U.S. retailer to purchase Wal-Mart's interest in five of the Ontario Sam's Club locations.

The purchase would include all but the Cambridge location.    

The company said it is taking steps to try and minimize the amount of job loss among the 1,200 Sam's Club associates. While the company does not have immediate positions for the majority of the affected associates, Wal-Mart will hold internal job fairs over the coming days to connect affected associates to job opportunities in existing Wal-Mart stores in areas surrounding the Sam's Club locations.