BRAMPTON, Ontario — Loblaw Cos. is testing several new formats with distinct niches but a common goal of bringing “value and convenience close to home,” according to Vicente Trius, Loblaw’s president.
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The Box by No Frills, a limited assortment discount store, opened in June in Calgary. Earlier this month in Vancouver, an independent operator opened that city’s first Loblaw CityMarket, importing fresh presentations from the retailer’s flagship Maple Leaf Gardens store in Toronto. And this fall, the company will debut a health and wellness focused banner to be known as Nutshell Live Life Well. Trius said the company has two locations slotted for this new format, including a first in downtown Toronto.
“We’re talking about smaller stores closer to home that offer tremendous value,” Trius said. “In one case it can be a health, wellness and nutrition experience, another case could be low prices in the full shop of groceries.”
Although the Nutshell and Box formats are considered test concepts with a slow rollout planned, both stores speak to long-term trends, Trius said. Initial results from The Box are “pretty good,” he noted, while the CityMarket store, based more on concepts tested in Toronto, is “trading very, very well.”
Read more: Loblaw Opens Provigo Le Marché
Trius made his remarks last week during a conference call reviewing a 2% increase in sales and a 14.1% gain in net earnings for the fiscal second quarter.
For the 12-week period, which ended June 15, Loblaw reported sales of $7.3 billion (U.S.), and a same-store sales gain of 1.1%. Net earnings improved to $173 million (U.S.).
The results — sparked by increased food sales amid flat inflation and market-wide square-footage increases — prompted Loblaw to revise its annual outlook upward. The company said it is now expecting “mid-single digit” improvement in operating income for the year.
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