Loblaw closing 22 stores, launching home delivery in two big cities.




Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it has finalised a plan that will result in the closure of 22 unprofitable stores across a range of its banners and formats.

The decision comes as the retailer plans to bring home delivery services to two of the country’s biggest cities, Toronto and Vancouver. It is partnering with California-based Instacart to deliver food and other pantry staples from Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, and T&T locations to customers in Toronto starting Dec. 6 and Vancouver starting in January.

Both moves come as retailers face increasing pressure on several fronts, including discount retailers such as Walmart, online retailers such as Amazon and pending minimum wage increases in some province.

The store closures, which are expected to be mostly complete by the end of the first quarter next year, follow an announcement last month that Loblaw would cut 500 corporate and store-support jobs.

To date, Canadians have few options for grocery deliveries with companies like Grocery Gateway and select large chains offering the service in limited locations.

Walmart announced in March it would start delivering groceries to customers living in certain parts of Toronto and the surrounding area. Shoppers must purchase at least $50 worth of food before taxes and pay a $9.97 fee.

Most grocers, including Loblaw and Walmart, have opted to focus on in-store pick-up for online orders instead. Loblaw launched its click-and-collect offering in 2014 and it’s now available at nearly 200 locations.