News Briefs

  • 10/10/2022

    Metro partners with Les Produits du Québec to promote local products

    People lining up with 2m social distancing before entering a Metro Grocery store on Easter Saturday. Montreal, Canada. April, 11, 2020

    Metro is partnering with Les Produits du Québec – a non-profit organization created with support from the Quebec government to recognize and promote locally made products  – to introduce its certification markers. 

    Over the next few weeks, the Product of Québec, Manufactured in Québec and Designed in Québec designations will be seen on locally made products in Jean Coutu and Brunet pharmacies as well as Metro and Super C stores in the province. 

    "This partnership will allow us to offer customers the products they want and allow us to continue our support of local businesses while contributing to the socio-economic activity in the regions we operate," said Josée Houle, vice-president, merchandising, Jean Coutu and Brunet.

    Nearly 20,000 products have already obtained Les Produits du Québec’s designation and the list continues to grow, said Elfi Morin, the organization’s general manager. 

    “This partnership is another major step forward, after less than six months of activity. Together, we are making it easier to identify and purchase Quebec products in stores and online,” Morin added.

    This new identification is in addition to the Aliments du Québec and Aliments préparés au Québec labels already in place in Metro, Metro Plus and Super C stores in Quebec.

    -Canadian Grocer

  • 10/10/2022

    Public meeting conducted for proposed drive thru restaurant at Listowel Pioneer gas station

    Pioneer gas pumps

    LISTOWEL - North Perth council received a report and held a statutory public meeting to receive comments from the public regarding a proposed drive-thru restaurant at the Pioneer gas station on Sept. 26.

    The meeting was open to the public for comments regarding an application for a zoning bylaw amendment for 605 Mitchell Rd. South in Listowel, Ont. The property in question is the current Pioneer gas station and convenience store located on the corner of Mitchell Road South and Kincaid Street West in Listowel. The applicant proposes adding a drive-thru restaurant to the existing site.

    Susanna Reid, senior planner for the Planning Division of Perth County, presented the report to council and the public. Currently, a drive-thru restaurant is not permitted by the zoning bylaws, but the applicant is asking for an amendment to the bylaw in order to proceed with development. Further, the developer is looking to add two additional buildings to the property to fulfill the needs for the drive-thru restaurant. These additions conform to zoning requirements and the proposed restaurant exceeds the minimum requirements, such as it provides more landscaped space and parking spaces than required, it has less coverage than the maximum coverage allowed, and provides more open space than the minimum requirement in current bylaws.

    During the public meeting, Pierre Chauvin of MHBC Planning, an agent for the adjacent property owner, Nizar Mawani, had concerns with respect to the application and stormwater easement. Currently, the Pioneer property has an easement for drainage that is on the southwest area of the property line to the middle of adjacent lands located to the south. This drainage pipe was developed prior to the severing of the land.

    The Pioneer property and Mawani were suggesting relocating the drainage easement somewhere that would coincide with future developments on the lands to the south. The two parties were close to an agreement, regarding this relocation and a possible easement for access to the Pioneer property on the south side. Chauvin wanted to reserve the right to appeal the amendment in the future if negotiations don't end favourably.

    The agents for the application were John Niften and Yash Kumar, who represented the corporation that owns the Pioneer Petroleum property and are proposing this change. Once more discussion took place at the public meeting, neither expressed a need for access to an easement on the south side of the Pioneer property.

    Further, there were concerns raised by council about the flow of traffic from Kincaid Street West to the entrance and from the exit of the drive-thru and that this would be a high-traffic site, with both the drive-thru restaurant and gas station.

    A resolution was not requested, only that council received the report and that public comments and questions were voiced. The applicant will be returning to present to council a recommendation for an amendment to the bylaw. Council received the report but did not propose any action at the Sept. 26 meeting.

    -Listowel Banner

  • 9/19/2022

    Grocery prices in Canada continue meteoric ascent, rising at fastest pace since 1981

    Trolley full of groceries near piles of money with increasing food prices graph background

    OTTAWA - Food inflation remains stubbornly high in Canada as grocery prices climbed at the fastest pace in more than four decades last month.

    While overall inflation moderated in August, the cost of food purchased from stores was up a staggering 10.8% compared with a year ago.

    That's the fastest clip recorded by Statistics Canada since 1981.

    Dalhousie University food professor Sylvain Charlebois says the protracted nature of food inflation is prompting Canadians to change shopping habits to save money.

    He says new research shows many people are shifting where and how they buy food, shopping more at discount stores, buying cheaper store brands, using loyalty programs and scouring weekly flyers for deals.

    However, experts say food inflation is expected to ease in the coming months as input costs decrease.

    "With transportation costs and agricultural commodity prices now off their peaks, the trend in food price inflation should start to soften towards the end of this year and into 2023,'' Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said in a client note Tuesday.

  • 8/18/2022

    Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 1.1% in June to $63.1 billion

    Man Complaining About Gas Prices

    OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says retail sales increased 1.1% to $63.1 billion in June, boosted by higher sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers.

    Higher prices helped lift sales at gasoline stations 3.9% for the month even as sales at gasoline stations in volume terms fell 1.3%.

    Meanwhile, sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers gained 1.8% in June, boosted by a 2.9% gain at new car dealers.

    Core retail sales - which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers - rose 0.2%.

    In volume terms, retail sales gained 0.2% in June.

    Statistics Canada says its preliminary estimate for July suggests retail sales for that month fell 2.0%, but cautioned the figure would be revised.

    -The Canadian Press

  • 8/11/2022

    Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. reports second quarter profit fell from a year ago

    London, Ontario, Canada - August 30, 2020: A Canadian Tire Gas station in London, Ontario. Canadian Tire Corporation Limited is a Canadian retail company.

    Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. reported lower second-quarter profit compared to a year ago.

    The retailer reported its net income attributable to shareholders totalled $145.2 million or $2.43 per diluted share for the quarter, down from $223.6 million or $3.64 per diluted share a year earlier.

    Canadian Tire says retail sales rose 9.9% and comparable sales, excluding petroleum, gained 5.0%. Retail sales at its SportChek banner grew 0.6% as comparable sales gained 4.1%, and retail sales at its Mark's banner rose 21.1%t as comparable sales rose 20.9%.

    On a normalized basis, Canadian Tire says it earned $3.11 per diluted share, down from a normalized profit of $3.72 per diluted share a year earlier.

    The company says while the performance of the retail segment of the business remains significantly above pre-pandemic levels on a normalized basis, higher expenses including foreign exchange resulted in earnings coming in lower in the second quarter compared to the prior year.

    Canadian Tire also says its financial services revenue grew 15.0%, driven by growth in receivables and growth in credit card sales, due to increased customer activity and new account acquisitions.

    -The Canadian Press

  • 8/10/2022

    Metro faces ongoing worker shortage, higher overtime pay to keep grocery stores open

    Metro Ontario inc. office in Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada. Metro Inc. is a Canadian food retailer operating in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

    Workers at Metro Inc. are putting in overtime to keep stores open as the company grapples with an ongoing labour crunch, the Montreal-based grocery and drugstore retailer said Wednesday.

    "There's a lot of open positions out there and there's not enough workers to fill them,'' Metro president and CEO Eric La Fleche said during a call to discuss the company's third-quarter results.

    Canada's labour market remains exceptionally tight, with more than one million job vacancies across the country amid historic low unemployment rates, according to Statistics Canada.

    "Labour shortages are causing pressures ... because that increases overtime to supply our stores,'' La Fleche said. "We have higher overtime percentages than we're used to.''

    He added that Metro currently has "more open positions'' than usual but declined to provide an exact number of vacancies across the company's warehouses and stores, which include conventional supermarkets like Metro and Metro Plus, discount grocery chains Super C in Quebec and Food Basics in Ontario as well as drugstores Jean Coutu and Brunet.

    La Fleche's comments came as the retailer reported a third-quarter profit of $275 million, up from $252.4 million a year earlier, as sales gained 2.5%.

    The profit amounted to $1.14 per diluted share for the period ended July 2, up from $1.03 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

    Sales totalled $5.87 billion, up from $5.72 billion, as food same-store sales gained 1.1% and pharmacy same-store sales rose 7.2%.

    On an adjusted basis, Metro said it earned $1.18 cents per diluted share for the quarter, up from $1.06 per diluted share a year earlier.

    The grocer warned that ongoing inflationary pressures and labour shortages could begin to weigh on margins.

    "If this high inflationary, high price environment continues it will continue to put pressure on margin,'' Metro chief financial officer Francois Thibault said.

    For now, strong margins in the company's pharmacy division made up for a decline in food gross margin, he said.

    "We had very strong front-store sales in our pharmacy business at Jean Coutu and Brunet in the quarter,'' La Fleche said. "Over-the-counter cough and cold products are flying.''

    Canada's jobless rate stayed at 4.9% in July, the lowest since comparable record-keeping began in 1976, Statistics Canada reported last Friday in its latest labour force survey.

    Meanwhile, inflation continued to shape consumer habits during the company's third quarter.

    Shoppers increasingly opted for discount grocery stores, switched to cheaper house brands and sought out cheaper protein choices.

    "We saw the shift from conventional to discount (stores) accelerate when compared to the previous quarter,'' La Fleche said.

    "We also saw a shift to private labels (and) trading down on proteins ... there's a shift for sure to value.''

    The price of food purchased at stores increased 9.4% in June, Statistics Canada said last month.

    Metro also said it expects same-store food sales to grow at a higher rate than in recent quarters and for growth in prescriptions on the pharmacy side of the business to moderate.

    -The Canadian Press

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