storewanderer wrote: ↑May 15th, 2022, 11:09 pm
Most Safeways (if you find one still open) still look like a US Store. Very few have been remodeled. The strategy seems to be to close and convert to smaller bare bones franchise No Frills units. I am curious they've opened a handfull of new Safeway units in the middle of the ongoing No Frills conversions.
You meant FreshCo, not No Frills. FreshCo reminds me of Smart & Final Extra. They have a lot in common with Smart & Final: downgraded former Safeways, quasi-warehouse format, high prices.
Yes, FreshCo for Sobeys/former Safeways. Terrible. Pricing was okay but I didn't think it was as good as No Frills. I'd actually call them worse than Smart & Final because when they take the Safeway over they actually downsize the Safeway and completely scrap it of its departments. At least Smart & Final just moves into the space, and doesn't utilize the various departments/equipment. So the stores are not physically destroyed by Smart & Final the way they are being destroyed by Sobey. If Smart & Final ever decided they wanted to run full service conventional stores with all of the departments they still could in the stores they took over. Sobeys remodels/downsizes the stores in such a way this would no longer be possible.
No Frills is the Loblaw format. That one is much better (due in large part to the excellent Loblaw private label programs in place). No Frills sort of reminds me of Grocery Outlet with a more consistent product mix day to day.
Romr123 wrote: ↑May 16th, 2022, 7:04 am
To dive a little deeper: Loblaw had roots in George Weston, the big bread-baker up in Canada. For whatever reason, the thaw/sell--commissary type--bake-off bakery goods are quite "a thing" up there--you see that occasionally in the US with some of those types of creme cakes etc coming from Canada. (FWIW that is all that Tim Hortons does anymore...)
I think Loblaw has sold off the bakery business; and they don't seem to be directly operating much in the way of private label factories (as opposed to, say Kroger/Lucerne Foods); though they may well have Sears-ish positions in some of the manufacturers (like Cott beverages). Dairy products are weird in Canada and I don't think they have any processing themselves (though I find it amusing that we get Canadian bulk-pack yogurt here in Detroit from Costco and specialty (mainly Italian) bread here in Detroit comes almost exclusively from Canada).
Diversion of shopping to the US is a thing (no self-respecting Windsor-ite would come to Detroit without a stop at Meijer/Costco); Port Huron, MI had far more retail than it's population would support (with London, ON 1h30 away). I imagine that continues over in Buffalo (with Toronto 1h-1 1/2 hr away) and in far northern Washington. Farmer Jack (when it existed) had specific instructions on their website on what ZIP code to search on to find the closest stores to the bridge/tunnel.
Loblaw has reinvented itself a couple times. They were in bad shape by the 70s and one of the Westons came in and took a hands-on approach with bigger stores and the bright, colorful graphics (the Northface-like logo came out of this time) as well as innovations like generics and bulk foods. Later on, they sold off almost everything outside of Ontario and then started making acquisitions and doing their multi-platform operation. They tried some reinvention in the US---after they closed their stores in Western and Central NY, they bought Peter J Schmitt, a Buffalo wholesaler that covered a wide area extending into Ohio & PA, which also owned Bell's Markets in Buffalo and Rochester. Suddenly, they covered all of their old territory, but it didn't last long and they sold out to a management-led group and the business went bankrupt some time later. I think Giant Eagle has some of the pieces. They kept some of National Tea and tried things like counterparts of The Great Canadian Superstore, but it also didn't last.
Hamilton is even closer to Buffalo than Toronto. Buffalo being a smaller market than Toronto, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the people coming to Buffalo are from smaller cities that are closer-by.
Yeah, it seems like Loblaw did more experimentation in their Louisiana markets (Superstore...) than in St. Louis---they built several showplaces over the years in St. Louis which mimicked what their state-of-the-art was in Canada (the last store they built in St. Louis was a very nice store built in 1996-ish in Crestwood, a second-ring suburb which obsoleted a 1962-vintage but high-end Schnucks).
retailfanmitchell019 wrote: ↑December 20th, 2022, 2:13 pm
I wonder what would be happening to Safeway Canada right now if Safeway had kept them through the Albertsons merger, now that Albertsons is combining with Kroger...?
Safeway Canada was a highly profitable operation and it outperformed the US Safeway operations. It is very possible Albertsons/Cerberus would not have been able to afford to pay the premium price that Safeway Canada would have commanded and it either would have been sold off at that point or Safeway would have never merged with Albertsons in the first place had they kept Canada.
I think Safeway made a mistake unloading Canada and it is unfortunate they made that decision.
storewanderer wrote: ↑May 6th, 2022, 7:42 pm
I don't think Wal Mart quite has the store penetration these other chains do.
They have more penetration than Costco in Canada, yet Costco does much more business.
I suspect Walmart's "middle America" attitude doesn't help them up there.
The Wal Mart units in Canada are a little less SKU-ed than the US units on the non food side but have a bit better perimeter grocery (bakery has a lot more stuff made in store) than the US units. I don't find their pricing to be overly aggressive. The Wal Marts I've been to in Canada all seem relatively peaceful and orderly, none of the security issues like you see in the US. One in North Vancouver in a former Woolco (I thought it was a Kmart) was definitely a bit of a dive but the new construction ones are a typical Wal Mart building.
I see little reason to shop Wal Mart in Canada with all of the Loblaw formats around. You can find a Loblaw format that beats their prices (Superstore or No Frills) easily.
Wal Mart's "middle America" attitude in Canada has certainly been better received than Target's attitude was in Canada.