Loblaw said Tuesday that it aims to open 50 new stores and complete 150 store remodels. The capital budget also includes e-commerce expansion plus IT infrastructure and supply chain projects.
Plans also call for the company’s Choice Properties REIT to invest in the growth, development and quality of its retail real estate portfolio, which includes the construction of about 730,000 square feet of gross leasable area.
Loblaw said the investment stands to create nearly 20,000 jobs through store staffing and construction.
“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,” Loblaw Cos. executive chairman and president Galen Weston said in a statement. “Our investment will create local jobs and bring nutrition and wellness solutions closer to home.”
Overall, Loblaw’s retail network encompasses more than 1,050 supermarkets, including 500 in-store pharmacies, under a range of banners plus more than 1,250 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix drug stores.
Loblaw’s improvements come as the company moves to protect its competitive position through price cuts. Canada’s tepid economic recovery has more shoppers flocking to discount outlets. And rival Sobeys Inc., Canada’s No. 2 grocery chain, announced last week it was slashing prices on 8,500 grocery items.