Walmart Canada CEO Gonzalo Gebara Discusses Retailer’s Plans for Continued Growth and Omni-Channel Expansion [Feature Exclusive Interview]


Share post:

Gonzalo Gebara, who took over as President and CEO of Walmart Canada in the early part of this year, has ambitious plans to continue to grow the giant retailer’s presence in the country.

“It’s hard to predict the future. With the last four or five years that we’ve had in the world, predicting the future is difficult. But I see a strong growth. We’re in growth mode in Canada,” he told Retail Insider in an exclusive interview while in Calgary recently to officially open the company’s latest state-of-the-art fulfillment centre.

“But we like to say that we’re in omni growth mode. If you ask me if there is room for more stores, I think there are. There is room for more stores in Canada, no question about it. Our value proposition resonates very well across all of the country.

“But also there’s a lot of opportunity to continue to grow our omni capabilities and continue to serve customers in the many different ways they are choosing to shop.”

Walmart Canada Fulfillment Centre in Rocky View County, Alberta (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)

Gebara said a facility like the new one in the Calgary area in the Balzac part of Rocky View County is a clear demonstration of the company’s approach to the market. The $100-million investment in the 430,000-square-foot facility is its first highf-tech fulfillment centre in Western Canada.

“It’s the latest and greatest version of fulfillment capabilities that we have. State of the art,” he said.

Walmart Canada, with more than 100,000 associates, operates a chain of more than 400 stores nationwide serving 1.5 million customers each day. Walmart Canada’s flagship online store,, is visited by more than 1.5 million customers daily. 

Gebara joined Walmart in 2000. During his career, he has held roles across Finance, Strategy, eCommerce, Marketing and Operations, in positions of increasing responsibility. Additionally, he has worked with teams across multiple markets, including the United States, Argentina and Chile, driving critical business outcomes.

Gonzalo Gebara, CEO of Walmart Canada (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)

In his most recent position as CEO for Walmart Chile, he played an integral role in accelerating the company’s transformation, making life easier for customers and giving them access to buy what they need, where, when and how they want to shop. 

Gebara said during his experience with the company, Walmart Canada has always been a really interesting, innovative part of the Walmart ecosystem.

“When I got here of course I knew enough about the business but a couple of things just caught my attention,” he said. “The first one would be the talent that we have in the business. We have very talented people, very knowledgeable both in our stores and in our home office. We’re putting all that collective intelligence to continue to bring our purpose to life across all of Canada.

“The other thing I was quite impressed is how sophisticated it really is. Of course we’re at the cutting edge of retail with lots of players, lots of options for consumers. The technology supporting customers so they can shop the way they want and where they want. It’s a pretty intense retail environment.

“I’m quite impressed by how much our value proposition resonates across the whole customer base of bringing value, everyday low price, and bringing access through our stores and our omni capabilities.”

Walmart Canada officially opened its new Edmonton Kingsway Walmart Supercentre in Alberta today (CNW Group/Walmart Canada Corp.)

Gebara said the company describes itself as a people-led, tech-enabled, omni-channel retailer.

“Our people are the most important thing that we have in Walmart and we continue to invest and to develop all of us. But technology is a very, very strong enabler so that we can continue to serve customers, serve communities and develop our associates across the whole network,” he said. 

“We will continue to invest in technology. This is obvious. We will continue to leverage the great innovations that we see coming from our U.S. business. Some of them we can implement faster than others because of nuances of each of the different markets and the shape of our businesses. We are in good shape to continue to develop technology and invest in technology.”

Gebara described the retail landscape in Canada as “ever-evolving.”

“The pandemic had a big impact in so many ways in our industry and coming out of the pandemic and kind of this post-pandemic era, there are a few things that went back to the way they were before, others haven’t,” he said. “I think we’re still in flux to see what the next normal will look like.

“So in the meantime, the way we’re thinking about the business is we need to be agile enough to be able to adapt and continue to learn about customers’ preferences and customer behaviour so we are prepared to react fast to the nuances of our customers’ preferences.

“We are continuing to evolve our network so that we are agile and we can react fast to the customers’ preferences.”

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 News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter


* indicates required

Related articles

The Body Shop Canada Goes into Restructuring and will Close 33 Stores [Article Includes Expert Analysis]

The UK-based retailer filed overseas last month, and its Canadian operations will now be downsized as part of a restructuring that will see many stores remain open for now.

One Bloor East in Toronto Secures Nike Flagship and Mango as Key Retail Tenants [Exclusive]

First Capital REIT has leased-out the entire retail podium at the iconic Yonge and Bloor corner, including space to another new tenant in the main-floor space formerly occupied by Nordstrom Rack.

Anatomy of a Leader: Ken Keelor, CEO of Calgary Co-op

After moving to Canada from India in 1995, Keelor began working at Save-on-Foods and then other major retailers as his career progressed upwards.

Unprecedented Opportunity for Canadian Retailers to Sell to Consumers in China Online

China is the world’s largest online consumer market, and it is projected to grow for years to come.

Modern Golf Opening Innovative Golf Social Experience in Downtown Toronto’s First Canadian Place [Interview]

The 8,500-square-foot Financial District space will feature multiple bays, bars, lounge areas, and partnerships with Food Dudes for food and beverage offerings, marking a significant shift in the company's growth strategy.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Gears Up for Nationwide Expansion in Canada with Innovative Store Formats [Interview]

New locations in new markets are planned, including a mix of Doughnut Café concepts and manufacturing locations for the public called 'Theatre Hubs'.

Robson Street in Vancouver in Flux as New Retailers Prepare to Open Stores [Feature]

The street is seeing new retailers prepare to open, including a prominent corner that is about to see some very big changes and a potential luxury mall nearby cancelled.

Wendy’s Bold Dynamic Pricing Move Has its Positives and Negatives [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses the unusual move by Wendy's in the US to implement dynamic pricing, and how it could benefit the business while potentially turning off consumers.

Growing Crisis in Retail Inventory in Canada as Factory Direct Liquidates Stores [Interview]

The founder of A.D. Hennick & Associates says he's seeing overwhelming demand to liquidate inventory, indicating a concerning trend in the industry as more retailers look to insolvency.

Here’s What We Can Learn from Canada’s Response to Inflation in the 1980s and 1990s [Op-Ed]

Younger, poorer households have disproportionately suffered because their price index is skewed more toward food and shelter, say the authors.

Food Preferences in Canada Changing as Millennial and Gen Z Demographics Shift [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses Canada's aging population and how younger consumers are shifting the grocery food landscape.

Henry Singer Unveils Downtown Edmonton Flagship Store at the ICE District, Featuring a Bar, Barber and Shoe Shine [Photos/Interview]

Jordan Singer discusses how the upscale menswear retailer recently relocated its Edmonton flagship store from Manulife Place into a 10,000 square foot space at the base of Western Canada's tallest building.