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Walmart to Open Global Tech Hub in Toronto as it Strategizes the Future of Retail: Interviews

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Retail giant Walmart is launching two new Walmart Global Tech hubs – one in Toronto and the other in Atlanta – and will hire more than 5,000 tech workers this year.

The retailer said Walmart Global Tech plans to make Toronto one of its larger hubs, with hundreds of new jobs over time. The initial hiring phase is expected to include 45 full-time roles in software development, technical program management and product management. Initial hiring in Atlanta is expected to include 140 new full-time roles such as data scientists and software engineers.  

Sravana Kumar Karnati

Sravana Karnati, SVP/CTO, Walmart International, said the retailer has operated in Canada since 1994.

“It’s a market that we’re really familiar with. Toronto is home to 26 per cent of the technology population in Canada. About 25,000 students come out of colleges every year in that area,” he said.

“The presence of the big technology talent, our experience in the market and our desire to do more in the market and also have global impact is why we chose Toronto. Our strategy has always been to go where the talent is.

“Retail is ever changing. There is always new technologies being tried, applied, whether it is supply chain, the way we merchandise, the way we optimize our operations in the back room, the fulfillment centres, the distribution centres. So every area of retail has technology, innovation, happening as we speak. And to be really good in retail we need to be really good in each of those areas. And being able to solve these problems of scale, of Walmart scale . . . requires a deep focus on technology which is why we’re expanding.” 

Image: Walmart Canada

With the addition of the Toronto and Atlanta hubs, Walmart Global Tech will have 16 technology hubs, including teams in Seattle and Chennai, India that launched last year. Walmart Global Tech is the fastest growing corporate team inside the world’s leading retailer. In the last fiscal year, Walmart Global Tech grew by 26 per cent to 20,000 associates and 20 per cent of the Global Tech team earned a promotion. 

Roles that are currently open for all locations are available on the careers webpage, careers.walmart.com/technology.   

Karnati said Walmart has strong technology roots. Early on, the retailer invested heavily in technology and it continues to do that in various areas.

“As the company grew and the business grew, we just (developed) more and more opportunities at scale . . . Technology is the way we want to scale. Technology is the way we want to serve our customers better and also associates better as well. It’s an extremely important enabler for our business success.”

Each week, approximately 230 million Walmart customers and members visit approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2022 revenue of $573 billion, Walmart employs 2.3 million associates worldwide.

Dufferin Mall Walmart Supercentre in Toronto (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Suresh Kumar

“The cutting-edge technology we build for 230 million customers around the world is fuelled by our greatest asset-our people,” said Suresh Kumar, Walmart’s EVP, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer. “We are excited to join the vibrant and diverse tech communities in Toronto and Atlanta. Work from these new hubs will impact millions of lives and transform the future of retail.”

Nicolai Salcedo

“Canada has a dynamic and world leading tech community powered by talented people and innovation that is recognized on a global scale,” said Nicolai Salcedo, Chief Technology and Data Officer, Walmart Canada. “It’s inspiring to see Walmart recognize the Canadian tech community and invest in further developing local talent with new opportunities that will be brought through this new tech hub.” 

In 2020, Walmart Canada announced a $3.5 billion investment to make the online and in-store experience simpler, faster and more convenient for Walmart Canada’s customers. 

John Tory

“Walmart’s decision to make Toronto the home of one of its larger tech hubs with hundreds of jobs to come is another vote of confidence in our city’s thriving tech sector,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “As Mayor, I am committed to supporting our technology sector and continuing to encourage companies to locate here and hire here. This is all part of our non-stop effort to ensure that Toronto comes back stronger than ever.” 

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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