Loblaw to create 20,000 jobs through $1bn expansion program

Loblaw Companies Limited (TSE:L, Mkt cap 28.63B, P/E 46.11, Div/yield 0.25/1.43, EPS 1.52, Shares 407.42M) says its plans to build 50 new stores and renovate 150 existing ones will create thousands of retail and construction jobs, The Canadian Press reports.

This year’s expansion will add around 5,000 new store employees while creating roughly 15,000 construction jobs, said Catherine Thomas, Loblaw’s director of external communications, in an email.

That would see Loblaw’s employee base increase by 2.6%, as per the most recent annual information form which puts staff at the 192,000 mark.

The stores will include both grocery stores of various banners as well as Shoppers Drug Mart locations. However, the largest food retailer in Canada remained tight-lipped on where the new stores will be located.

The Brampton-based company will invest $1 billion in the expansion, while Choice Properties REIT, a real estate investment trust, will contribute $300 million.

“We continue to invest in our business in ways that matter for the Canadian economy and the millions of Canadians who shop with us each week,” Galen G. Weston, the company’s president and executive chairman, said in a statement.

The announcement bears similarities to one made early last year, when it said it would build 50 new stores and improve more than 100 others. It then took the decision in July 2015 to close 52 locations across Canada, with the stores having fallen short of expectations.

In her email, Thomas explained how the completion and success of multiple IT and supply chain investments over the past few years gives Loblaw leverage to direct more of its capital on stores.

It will also direct some of the $1-billion towards its e-commerce, IT infrastructure and supply chain projects, the firm added.

Brampton, Ontario based Loblaw provides grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, general merchandise, and financial products and services. The Company operates through three segments: Retail, Financial Services and Choice Properties. The Retail segment consists of retail food and associate-owned drug stores, and also includes in-store pharmacies and other health and beauty products, gas bars and apparel and other general merchandise. The Financial Services segment provides credit card services, loyalty programs, insurance brokerage services, personal banking services, deposit taking services and telecommunication services. The Choice Properties segment owns and leases income-producing commercial properties. Its subsidiaries include Loblaws Inc., Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation, President’s Choice Bank, Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust and Choice Properties Limited Partnership. More from Reuters » 

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