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Loblaw ups game in-store, online

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BRAMPTON, Ontario — Loblaw Cos. announced that it plans to close 22 unprofitable stores, adding that it will begin rolling out an internet-based home-delivery service starting in December.

The announcements come almost a month after the company said it was cutting approximately 500 corporate and store support positions.

Loblaw declined to release a list of the stores that will be closed.

The grocery retailer, which also announced its third quarter results, said it expects to take charges of about $135 million, with most expected in the fourth quarter of 2017. At the same time, Loblaw said the changes will allow it to save about $85 million annually.

Loblaw’s store banners include Zehrs, Provigo and Fortinos. It also has several discount grocery chains, including No Frills, Extra Foods and Real Canadian Superstore. It also owns the Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM) chain.

The company said it expects the store closures will be mostly done by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

At the same time, Loblaw said it will begin rolling out an online home delivery service, beginning December 6 in Toronto. The service will launch in Vancouver, British Columbia, in January 2018, with expansion to additional Canadian markets next year. The company is teaming up with Instacart, an on-demand grocery delivery service, which operates in 150 markets in the U.S. Online orders from Loblaw, Real Canadian Superstore and T&T stores will be shipped to the homes of customers by Instacart in as little as an hour, the companies said.

In addition, the retailer plans to launch a unified customer loyalty program that joins the Shoppers Optimum and PC Plus plans of its SDM and supermarket chains.

Called PC Optimum, the combined loyalty program will enable members to earn and redeem loyalty points across Loblaw’s network of nearly 2,500 grocery and drug stores and its e-commerce sites via a single card or app. Loblaw said PC Optimum is slated to roll out on February 1.

Loblaw noted that the union of two of Canada’s leading retail loyalty programs will not just extend its reach — approaching 20 million members overall — but also bring more convenience and benefits to customers. SDM’s Shoppers Optimum has 11 million members, while Loblaw’s grocery store PC Plus program totals 8 million members.

PC Optimum will feature elements of Shoppers Optimum and PC Plus, including weekly personalized offers, the ability to redeem points for almost anything in the company’s stores, and exclusive points-earning and points-redemption events, according to the company.


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