The 2006 annual report for Loblaw points out several facts relevant to the fresh foods industry:
- 27 Million Kilograms of fresh produce delivered every week
- Four distinct formats: Superstore, Great Food, Hard Discount and Wholesale
- President’s Choice Blue Menu for consumer-friendly healthy foods
- Strategic imperative: Fresh First — best fresh food offering
- Adopted “Fresh walk” to measure and sustain high standards of fresh foods merchandising.
- Centralize purchasing to gain advantage of scale.
- Re-establish position as one of the world’s most innovative fresh foods retailers
- New store at Maple Leaf Garden in Toronto, national flagship store for fresh food
Back in 2004, when Loblaw began all kinds of changes, the speculation was that the goal was to keep Wal-Mart from opening supercenters in Canada.
If that was the goal it didn’t work as now there are seven. And Wal-Mart is promising the “Freshest Produce Your Money Will Buy” and offering an interactive fresh floor plan.
Yet Loblaw is the great colossus of the north. With its clothing lines and varied formats it is in a better position to fight Wal-Mart than most American chains were. And you never want to discount a home field advantage.
You can read the a portion of the annual report here in html or get a PDF of the whole report here.