Huge Canadian Grocery Chain to Close 22 Stores

Twenty-two “unprofitable” stores are closing and a grocery home-delivery service is being unveiled next month, Canada’s largest retailer - based in Brampton - announced on Nov. 15.

That’s roughly one month after the company said it was cutting 500 corporate and store-support jobs.

The closures will be “across a range of banners and formats” under Loblaw Companies.

Loblaw owns Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Fortinos, T&T Supermarkets, and Shoppers Drug Mart, among others.

The company said it expects to record charges of approximately $135 million, the majority of which are expected in the fourth quarter of 2017, and to realize approximately $85 million in annualized savings.

The company said it also expects the closures will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

Calling the online venture a “Canadian first,” Loblaw and Instacart will be working together to deliver groceries across the country.

Instacart is a technology-driven, on-demand grocery delivery service, serving more than 150 American markets.

Online grocery orders from Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore and T&T stores will be delivered by Instacart to customers’ homes in as little as one hour, according to the company.

It’s beginning in Toronto on Dec. 6, followed by the Greater Vancouver Area in January.

Rapid expansion to additional markets across Canada is expected throughout 2018.

“We are a customer-led company adding new ways to make shopping easier,” said Loblaw chairman and CEO Galen G. Weston.

“We have stores minutes from most Canadians … For customers who want groceries delivered right to their door, Instacart is a new and complementary convenience.”

Here’s how it’ll work: Customers visit Instacart or download the app, pick from a local store’s online inventory of as many as 30,000 products, and choose a delivery window that works best for their needs. It can be dropped off within one hour or up to one week later.

Instacart’s shoppers are the ones who are browsing and delivering the order.

“Entering our first international market with national icons like Loblaw and its President’s Choice brand is a strong starting point for both our company and the local customers we aim to serve,” said Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta.

“I grew up in Canada and know firsthand the appeal of these supermarkets and brands. I also know that our Instacart technology and service will meaningfully add to their appeal and convenience.”

Loblaw has nearly 2,500 corporate, franchised and associate-owned locations employing nearly 200,000 full- and part-time employees.

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