Monday 17/06/2019 - 03:57 am

Loblaws expansion, renovations could squeeze "premium" Whole Foods market share

2015.03.12 02:14

 Loblaws is sprucing up, Target is bowing out, Sobeys is eyeing Ontario, and the era of the "conventional" grocer is coming back shinier than ever, according to retail analysts.

After what CIBC World Markets researcher Perry Caicco described as "a period of neglect," the big national supermarkets — Loblaws, Empire and Metro — are shifting spending away from their discount chains towards propping up existing mid-market spaces.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced a $1.2-billion investment this week to upgrade at least 100 franchises in 2015 and build another 50 stores under the Loblaws banner.
With Target withdrawing from Canada and freeing up some two million square feet of dedicated food retail space, the timing is ripe for such an overhaul, said IBISWorld retail analyst Will McKitterick.
Canadian shoppers are beginning to expect a more "premium" experience when they load up on bread and milk amid higher-end competition such as Whole Foods, he said.
Loblaws is worried that Walmart is going to eat their lunch.- Mark Satov, management consultant, Satov Consultants
Grocers, in turn, are "using more than just the food theyre selling," McKitterick said, to bring consumers into sparkling boutique-style markets that offer accoutrements such as free WiFi, cafes, dine-in sections and even live entertainment.
Loblaws flagship urban location in downtown Toronto, which took over storied Maple Leaf Gardens in 2013, was one example of the companys "Inspire" fleet of deluxe stores.
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