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Wal-Mart to invest $500 million in Canada, create 7,500 jobs

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[February 05, 2014]  (Reuters)  Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Tuesday it would invest about $500 million this year to strengthen its presence in Canada, creating more than 7,500 jobs including construction.

The investments include more than $376 million for store projects, $91 million for distribution networks to expand fresh food capability and $31 million for e-commerce projects.

Wal-Mart's expansion plans comes a week after Target Corp said it would open nine new stores across Canada, adding to the 124 it opened last year.

Over the past year U.S. retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target have expanded in Canada, posing a threat to local retailers such as Loblaw Cos Ltd, the country's largest grocer, and Empire Co Ltd's Sobeys grocery chain.

Wal-Mart said on Tuesday it planned to complete 35 supercenter projects in Canada by January 31, 2015, adding 1 million square feet of retail space.

Wal-Mart's store count in Canada will rise to 395 by the end of January 2015, including 282 supercenters and 113 discount stores, the retailer said.

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The locations of stores and distribution center projects will be announced later, the company said.

(Reporting by Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; editing by Savio D'Souza)

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