Wal-Mart Expands North

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Wal-Mart Expands North

CALGARY -- Wal-Mart's aggressive fuel expansion rolled into Calgary today as the discount merchandiser opened its first gas station with Murphy Oil in the Alberta province. The unit is one of six Wal-Mart gas stations in Canada operating through an arrangement between the big-box retailer and Murphy.

Charles Ganus, Murphy Oil's senior vice president of marketing, would not say what price consumers could expect, but the pump prices listed at the store yesterday were around 15 cents less per liter than at other stations throughout the city, according to the Calgary Herald.

As the store prepared to open, other retailers announced evasive maneuvers to steer their consumer base away from Wal-Mart. Nearby competitors include Canadian Tire, Esso and Petro-Canada. Canadian Tire announced it would cut its gasoline price by 25 cents per liter this morning. Petro-Canada and Esso are expected to follow suit.

Ted Toner, vice president of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, said any time a big-box retailer arrives, consumers can expect a price war. "Usually what happens in a price war is many of the participants are not able to make a sustainable profit margin," he said. "That could lead to few competitors in the marketplace."