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Innovative Walmart Supercentre Opens at Hillside Centre in Victoria, Replacing Former Sears: Interviews/Photos

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Walmart’s new Supercentre in Victoria has opened at the Hillside Shopping Centre in space formerly occupied by Sears.

The store occupies 145,000 square feet and employs approximately 350 people, with around 200 trade and construction jobs created with the build.

Derreck Cuschieri

“Today is a very exciting day for Walmart Canada,” said Derreck Cuschieri, Vice President of Operations for Western Canada, Walmart Canada. “We are thrilled to be growing in Victoria. We want to help Canadians save money so they can live better with everyday low prices that will make a big difference for families. Our customers will benefit from having a store close to the downtown core where they can choose to shop in-store or online with in-store pickup or home delivery. We look forward to sparking positive change in Victoria.”

The new store is part of Walmart Canada’s $3.5 billion investment aimed to generate significant growth and to make the online and in-store shopping experience simpler, faster and more convenient for associates and customers.

Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)

Garrett Lawrence, the store manager, said this will be the third Walmart in the Greater Victoria Area.

“The largest (from a sales perspective) Walmart in Canada is just down the road. It’s at Uptown which is about four kilometres away and we have the Langford location which is about 15 to 20 kilometres away from us,” said Lawrence. “Hillside is actually going to feature some new programs in regards to signage. New to British Columbia. It will be the first store from a signage perspective which is going to make it a lot easier for customers to navigate a Walmart. It’s going to be a lot more aisle location and signage shoutouts letting customers know here’s where the vacuums are and here’s where sporting goods is. It’s a new program that Walmart’s launched that looks absolutely fantastic. The sight lines are great.

“We’ve got a very wide international selection that kind of caters to our community. It’s a two-floor store with a really clean look. We’re really proud of the selection we have as well. From an online grocery perspective, we’re going to actually launch the Express orders, two-hour express. So for two-hour pickup or home delivery, which is a pretty big win. We’re going to launch that right out the gate.

“The landscape of the store is very unique. It’s probably one of the most beautiful storefronts I’ve seen in my time with Walmart. Really nice tree-lined. The landscaping is beautiful. It’s just a different shopping experience. We’re kind of going for that community feel. Really trying to grow some roots in this community and attach ourselves to it.”

Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)

Lawrence said customers will also be able to have items ordered online and shipped to the store at no cost. 

“We’ve got a very easy pick up system for customers. They have dedicated parking with a five-minute guaranteed wait time – five minutes or less,” he said.

The new Walmart entrance is on the North Dairy Road side of the shopping centre with nearby retail neighbours including Thrifty Foods, Canadian Tire, Dollarama, Shoppers Drug Mart, SportChek, Bolen Books and Marshalls.

“Hillside Centre and all of our merchants are very excited to welcome Walmart to our retail community,” said Kerry Shular, General Manager at Hillside Centre.

“The addition of Walmart in the Oaklands neighbourhood will only enhance the work-life balance of our residents and truly bring a one-stop shopping experience to Hillside Centre’s customers.”

Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)

“We’ve been in Victoria as a company for 28 years. It’s kind of a natural fit to open a new store in this community we’re so familiar with serving,” said Lawrence. “We still feel like there’s a strong demand for the presence of Walmart with our community affordable prices, especially in this part of Victoria. We’re very close to the universities. The University of Victoria is very close by. Camosun College is close by. It’s easier for access for them to get to Hillside opposed to Uptown, especially with public transportation. 

“So this is going to offer more convenience for shoppers. We do have a very big mix of demographic in this part of Victoria. You have a lot of students here but you also have a very big mix of income status levels.

“It’s been a lot of fun. I’m really proud of the associate base that we have in the store. I think we’ve got associates that represent the community and the customers we’re serving and I couldn’t be prouder of how much work they’ve put into getting this thing ready, especially the past two months. It’s been astonishing to watch a group of new people new to the company be able to put this thing together.”

Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)

New features and offerings at the Victoria Hillside Supercentre include:

  • An expansive international section including Asian, Southeast Asian, British, German, Latin and Italian foods.
  • Walmart Express Pickup service with online grocery orders ready in two hours or less.
  • Walmart Grocery Delivery service with local on-demand delivery.
  • A Walmart Pharmacy slated to open in the coming weeks with a pharmacy team that is eager to offer new and longtime customers expert advice, compassionate help on health-care issues and assistance with products and prescriptions.
  • A 4,000 sq. ft. Jack Nathan Health medical centre with paramedical services such as chiropractic, physiotherapy and a medical spa, expected to open in the summer of 2022.
  • Sustainable features including a transcritical CO2 refrigeration system with rejected energy being reclaimed for building heating systems, a building automation system for lighting and HVAC controls, LED lighting and low flow fixtures.

British Columbia is home to 48 Walmart stores and one distribution centre, employing more than 12,000 associates.

Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)
Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)
Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)
Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)
Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)
Walmart Canada at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC (Image: Walmart Canada)

Article Author

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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2 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations Walmart, I think?. From a retail design perspective I saw nothing new and innovative, (understanding a few grand opening day photos show very little) but seriously just a re-hash of Walmart’s standard interior decor and signage program. The “pick up” exterior elevation is just brutal and screams cut the budget. Lets save 20K(on a 5M+- project budget) by leaving the existing blah Sears masonry finishes as is and slap some paint on the corner,really?. First rule of retail exterior signage especially at your most prominent elevation it should be as high as possible. Why construct a fascia with plenty of height clad in dark blue then mount white channel letters on a raceway 6’+ lower in front of glazing ?, what a lost opportunity. Finally leaving the retail sales area ceiling unfinished concrete is a mystery to me. Painted in white would have made a huge difference to ambient light levels while unifying the surface making it disappear into the background, its only paint.
    In the spirit of fairness I’ll take a look in person might cause me to revise some of my opinions but I doubt it.
    Good luck with the new Victoria location.

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