Wal-Mart Stores has outlined its expansion plans in Canada for the next 12 months.

The world's largest retailer plans to invest C$750m (US$754.1m) in what it described as a "record" year of expansion for the US company north of the border.

Wal-Mart said it would open "at least 73 projects", although it said 39 of those stores would be former Zeller outlets for which it acquired leases last June from rival retailer Target Corp.

Most of those 39 Zeller stores will re-open as Wal-Mart outlets in its current financial year, which runs from 1 February to 31 January 2013.


A spokesperson for Wal-Mart in Canada said many of the other projects will be renovations of existing stores.

"Most of our growth over the past few years has consisted of expanding or renovating existing discount stores to provide a full fresh offering. That is, converting existing discount stores into supercentres," she said.

The spokesperson declined to comment on the location of the projects and said details would be released "over the coming weeks and months".

She added: "Walmart Canada publicly confirms the location of specific projects only once all approvals are in place and the project has been announced to our associates. We can say that at least three of the projects will be new stores.  At least half of the 73 projects will be supercentres, which have a full fresh food offering."

Overall, Wal-Mart is aiming to add 4.6m square feet of retail space to its operations in its current fiscal year.

At the end of January, Wal-Mart Canada had 333 stores, including 164 Supercentres. The expansion and store renovation programme is expected to bring the company's store count to around 375 stores by the end of January 2013.

US discount department store retailer Target Corp., is due to open its first 24 Canadian stores in Ontario in March or early April 2013. It plans to open between 125 and 135 stores in Canada after buying 189 leases from discount chain Zellers last year.