TORONTO — Loblaw Cos. said Wednesday that it will be re-entering the U.S. retailing market — with apparel stores. Four units of its Joe Fresh stores, which sell stylish and low-cost apparel in a concept created by Joe Mirman, will be opening in New York later this year in what was described as a pilot program by Allen Leighton, Loblaw's president and deputy chairman, speaking at an investor conference here Wednesday.
Leighton noted that Joe Fresh represented one opportunity for Loblaw to "build out from the core," following a five-year program of rebuilding Loblaw's infrastructure that is now entering its final year. Leighton noted the company is also working to focus on demographic trends of aging consumers and ethnic shoppers —"two big opportunities that we are not prepared to miss," he said.
Leighton said Loblaw would look to double the size of its T and T Supermarket division serving East Asian shoppers in Canada in the next three to four years and is starting to develop South Asian, East African and Middle East focused businesses.
The aging population in Canada, he added, represents a potential to boost pharmacy, health and wellness and fitness business lines. "We should think of them as a holistic idea and see if we can put them together in some way," he said.