New Wal-Mart caters to jet set

First two-storey store in Quebec opens in
Dorval
By Robert Frank
Wal-Mart officials are crowing about
their newest store’s strategic location, which opened, Sept. 19, just blocks
from Pierre Eliot Trudeau international airport.
“It’s in a really convenient
location,” enthused Alex Roberton, the retail chain’s director of corporate
affairs for Canada. “Because it’s so close to the airport, we see a lot of
travelers come through here.”
“I don’t have the exact figures for
sales of suitcases,” he said, “but we make sure that those aisles are
well-stocked.”
The Dorval store is the fourth of
sixteen new facilities that Wal-Mart has announced it will open. Located in the
two-storey former Zellers outlet in Dorval shopping centre, Wal-Mart planners
had to deviate from the single-floor layout that characterizes most Wal-Marts
around the world.
”We’ve put in a shopping cart
escalator so you don’t have to use the elevator to go up and down,” Roberton
said.
“It is a separate escalator between
the up and down escalators,” explained the Pointe Claire native. “You load your
cart and you go up on the regular escalator.
The former Royal Canadian Navy
officer, who served at sea for eight years before returning to Montreal,
likened the retail giant to running a ship.
“It takes lowered costs for every
single area of the business so we can keep prices down for customers,” Roberton
said, “because that is what Wal-Mart is all about: reducing the cost of living
for Canadians.”
He cited an example from Wal-Mart’s
green program.
“During the summer, the lighting in
300 of our 330 stores is controlled by head office,” he explained. “We bring
the lighting down to two-thirds of full intensity.”
“That one initiative saves us $1.5-2
million per year,” he concluded. “It’s just one of the ways that we take costs
out of our operation that we can pass on to customers.”
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