CASE: LOBLAW COMPANIES LIMITED
In 2006, Canada´s supermarket industry in 6 regions was valued at 73,3 billion USD annually. Compared to the year before , total grocery sales had increased by 2,49% (in 2005 it was valued at 71,6 billion USD). This increase, however , was not so high as historically year-over-year increase of cca 4,8%. 1b
In 2005 there were 8 main competitors , together having 85,7 % of the market. In first place with 34,9% was Loblaw, second place with 16% Sobeys and third place with 13,1% Metro , followed by Safeway, Costco, Overwaitea, CO-OP and Wal-Mart, respectively to market share. 1c
By contrast to the USA, the grocery business in Canada was less fragmented , more competitive and dominated by companies that were strong on a national level. Sobeys and Metro had focused on their fresh food assortments, in response to Wal-Mart´s anticipated diversification into the food category and changes occuring at Loblaws. Metro also strengthened its market position in 2005 when it acquired other food retail chain in Ontario, as Ontario was the key market in Canada. 1d
Expectations of grocery stores in Canada were higher compared to the USA and „fresh“ was the most important issue in Canadian grocery retailing. Canada had a well –developed discount grocery sector with high standards . The prevailing formats of grocery stores were supermarkets and superstores as low-cost, one-stop-shopping destinations. Loblow introduced a premium private label which was a very successfull concept. 2.
The Canadian supermarket industry has became highly competitive and concentrated. Consumers were changing from their past habits of buying national brands to preferring quality and value of in-store brands. Despite the dominance of the top three players in the Canadian grocery space, non-traditional retailers’ entry into market has been facilitated by shifts in consumer preferences and convenience as a priority in the past decade.
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