Before he took to the field to handle the Toronto Argos one night, Billy Parker needed to make a pre-amusement smoothie. The Montreal Alouettes football player didn’t need to go far to discover the fixings.
Rather than looking for a market, Parker wound up at a Shoppers Drug Mart just strides from his downtown Toronto inn. “It’s perfect,” he says. “I saw it yesterday and was like, ‘Oh, you can get fresh fruit here, that’s great.'”
Canada’s biggest drugstore chain is bulking up its offerings in the basic supply wars by adding fresh nourishment to a considerable lot of its stores.
The competition for your basic need dollars is getting hardened. Enormous box discounters like Walmart keep on stealing business from conventional food merchants.
Customers, which is claimed by Loblaw, isn’t going to go up against the enormous grocery stores. Rather, it’s pursuing a developing fragment where Walmart hasn’t much bid, time-starved clients wanting just a couple of things and an easy ordeal.
“It’s fantastic,” says Andrea Vandenvert, exiting a Toronto location with a bag of groceries. “Often if there’s not a grocery store nearby, it’s convenient to go to Shoppers and pick up like meat or yogurt, fresh bananas.”
At the recently redesigned Toronto Shoppers visited, brilliant produce coated the racks near to beautifiers, everything from apples, bananas and plums to corn and cucumbers. The brilliantly lit refrigerated area showed new fish and meat choices like hotdogs and pork loins. Arranged nourishments went from sandwiches to sushi and dumplings.
Artisan-style French bread was shown alongside the clerk to entice clients holding up in line. The fresh increases started as a pilot project in a handful of Shoppers stores in 2014. The company as of late rebuilt a few stores in downtown Toronto and now brags 29 areas serving perishable merchandise, 19 in Toronto, eight in Regina and two in Hamilton.
Shoppers works more than 1,300 medication stores crosswise over Canada.
Shoppers says it is “pleased with the results to date,”as indicated by representative Tammy Smitham in an email. The company arrangements to redesign more stores and open 10 new Toronto areas this year that will incorporate fresh foods.
A hefty portion of the things don’t come modest. For instance, oranges for $1.29 each. Peppers were going for $1.99 each. In some rebate markets, you can discover comparable costs for those merchandise, by the pound.
While the big grocers duke it out for the discount shopper, there may still be room to grow in the convenience category where price isn’t the biggest factor.
Traditional supermarkets continue to see a share of their profits eaten up by big box competitors Costco and Walmart.
“Every single quarter, those two continue to take hundreds of millions of dollars of food sales away from the traditional [grocers],” says Kevin Grier, an independent food-industry analyst based in Guelph, Ont.
Meanwhile, traditional grocers are feeling the heat. In June, Empire Company, parent of the Sobeys supermarket chain, reported a massive fourth-quarter net loss of more than $900 million.
Walmart Canada’s same-store sales have continually grown over the past eight quarters. “Their aim is to become the number 1 food retailer in the country, and based on the pace that they currently have, it is an achievable goal,” says Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at Dalhousie University specializing in food distribution and policy.
Walmart and Costco may be able to woo customers with low prices. But their big box stores, often situated in suburban areas, aren’t a big lure for convenience shoppers.
There’s also money to be made from convenience shoppers. From May 2015 to 2016, supermarket sales grew by 1.1 per cent according to Statistics Canada. Convenience store sales more than doubled that figure, with sales up 2.4 per cent.
Stacking Shoppers with fresh food isn’t Loblaw’s only approach to cashing in on the convenience category. It’s also building mini-Loblaws grocery stores in urban locations across the country called City Market.
Loblaws recently opened new CityMarkets in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Seven exist so far and the company plans to open one more in Toronto and B.C. by the end of the year.
Food-industry analyst Grier thinks Loblaws’ strategy with both CityMarket and Shoppers is smart as long as the company can pull it off. “Execution and scale, all of this stuff is going to be difficult for them.”
“It’s not going to hurt Walmart,” which will continue to lure shoppers willing to go the extra mile for a low price, Grier says.
He also notes that targeting the convenience store shoppers will do nothing to stop Walmart from its mission to become Canada’s dominant grocery.