Loblaw boycott launches on same day Brampton company reports $13.58 billion in profits


Published May 1, 2024 at 3:31 pm

Loblaw boycott launches on same day Brampton company reports $13.58 billion in profits

Some Ontario shoppers are taking their money elsewhere in a boycott of stores owned by Brampton-based grocer Loblaw on the same day the company reported more than $13.5 billion in profits so far this year.

The movement was born out of an online group on Reddit called r/loblawsisoutofcontrol which has grown to over 63,000 members looking for a place to complain about pricing and problems at Loblaw stores as well as other grocers.

The boycott started on Wednesday and is planned to last for all of May with the goal of hurting Loblaw’s bottom line – a target that may prove difficult as the company posted a first-quarter profit of $13.5 billion on the same day the protest action began.

Brampton-based Loblaw Cos. Ltd. says its earnings for the quarter were up from $13 billion a year earlier and it earned $1.72 per diluted share in its latest quarter, up from an adjusted profit of $1.55 per diluted share a year earlier. The company says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 51.3 cents per share, up from 44.6 cents per share.

For 2023, Loblaw reported a 9.4 per cent profit increase last year to $2.08 billion and a revenue surge of 5.4 per cent from 2022 for $59.52 billion.

Back in September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on grocery executives to come up with a plan to stabilize food prices and announced plans for a “grocery code of conduct.” But so far both Loblaw and Walmart Canada have held off on signing saying they were concerned it would actually raise prices for consumers.

While the code is meant to be industry-led and voluntary, the federal government hasn’t ruled out making it law if major players won’t all get on board.

Loblaw CEO Per Bank said on Wednesday he was “more optimistic now than before that we can land an agreement on the code.”

The boycott is planned to run until the end of May and time will tell if the grassroots boycott will have an impact on Loblaw’s profits or prices.

A 2023 ranking of the most trusted brands in Canada found Loblaw ranked 304th on the list of more than 400 brands, “highlighting the challenge it faced in demonstrating value while it reported high profits,” the report said. Walmart was even lower, at 354. Metro ranked 93rd, while Sobeys was 110th.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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