Loblaw Companies Ltd., one of the oldest and largest grocery chains in Canada, is in the process of laying off 500 employees in offices across the country.
Company president, Sarah Davis, told Canadian Press, some of the employees were informed yesterday, and many of the positions will be eliminated.
“We have begun eliminating corporate office roles, including various executives, members of management and colleagues at all levels”
The cuts are in company offices in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Calgary, and do not affect “hourly-rate store jobs”. according to spokesman Kevin Groh.
“As part of a broad cost-control effort we have begun eliminating corporate office roles, including various executives, members of management and colleagues at all levels,” he said.
In quarterly results, earlier this year, the company had said minimum wage hikes to $15 (Cdn) per hour, would cost it an extra $190 million (Cdn) in 2018. and it was looking for ways to cut costs to absorb the increase.
Canada’s grocery stores are in heated competition with big American chains such as Walmart and Costco.
Loblaw will, however, be hiring later this year as it continues its investment strategy in other areas, including omni-channel, part of its digital evolution, and its financial services division.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. bought the national Shoppers Drug Mart Chain in 2013, in anticipation of the legalisation of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use.
Marijuana will be legal as of July 1st, 2018. Provincial governments and retailers are still working with the federal government toward meeting that date.
Galen G. Weston, president and executive chairman of Loblaw Limited, said Shoppers Drug Mart would be ideally placed for medical distribution of cannabis.
In the meantime, it has introduced several grocery elements into the drug stores, allowing customers to buy fresh produce, along with prescriptions.
Loblaw invested in the ethnic retail market with its purchase of T & T Supermarket Inc., in 2009. Canada’s largest chain of Asian food stores.
T&T CEO Cindy Lee, said at the time of the purchase, that many customers already referred to the stores as the Asian Loblaws.
With files from Canadian Press and CBC