Loblaw to spend $1B to open 50 new stores, renovate 150 others

Loblaw plans to build dozens of new stores and renovate more than 100 others this year, creating thousands of retail and construction jobs.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. plans to open 50 new stores this year and renovate about three times that many. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

Grocery chain Loblaw Companies Ltd. plans to build several dozen stores and also renovate more than 100 this year in a move that should add more than 5,000 jobs in the new stores when all is said and done.

The company says it will build roughly 50 new stores and renovate 150 existing ones, including projects that started in January.

The stores will include both grocery stores of various banners as well as Shoppers Drug Mart locations. But the company has not yet laid out specifically where it plans to build new locations or improve old ones.

The company made a similar announcement last year, pledging to spend about the same amount of money to build and expand roughly the same number of stores. At the same time, it is also in the midst of closing unprofitable stores while opening new ones.

Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said the expansion plan wouldadd about 5,000 new store employees while creating roughly 15,000 construction jobs during the process.

$1 billion price tag

Those jobs would boost the company's workforce by almost three per cent, since the company already employs about 192,000 full- and part-time workers, according to its most recent regulatory filings.

Loblaw will invest $1 billion in the expansion, while Choice Properties REIT, a real estate investment trust spun out by the parent company in 2013 will contribute $300 million.

"We continue to invest in our business in ways that matter for the Canadian economy and the millions of Canadians who shop with us each week," Galen G. Weston, the company's president and executive chairman, said in a statement.

After a multiyear process to try to bring their IT and logistics up to date, the company says it is finally ready to focus on and expand its core retail business.

At least one retail consultant said the plan is a vote of confidence in Canada's economy.

"It means they have faith in it," retail consultant John Williams of J.C. Williams Group said in an interview, "and they're going forward in an aggressive new way."

"It bodes well for the Canadian retail scene," he said, adding "if you're a mediocre player you get run over and it's not a good day to be mediocre."

Loblaw already operates more than 2,300 retail stores. These include its grocery store chains such as Loblaws, No Frills and Real Canadian Super Store among others, as well as the Shoppers Drug Mart outlets and Joe Fresh apparel stores.

The company's most recent quarterly results in February showed profits slipped more than one-third compared with the prior year. However, this was primarily due to costs and accounting items associated with unusual items, rather than store performance, the company said.

Loblaw will release its first-quarter results on May 4.


Pete Evans

Senior Business Writer

Pete Evans is the senior business writer for Prior to coming to the CBC, his work has appeared in the Globe & Mail, the Financial Post, the Toronto Star, and Canadian Business Magazine. Twitter: @p_evans Email:

With files from The Canadian Press


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?