Coronavirus (COVID-19): Loblaw plots return to ‘normal’

Stewart Samuel
Program Director - Canada

Date : 21 May 2020

Canada’s leading food and drugstore retailer has outlined the adjustments it’s making in-store as emergency measures steadily loosen across the country.

Reopening service counters

Over the coming weeks, Loblaw will start to make several changes in-store. This will include re-opening service counters within its supermarket formats, including in meat, seafood and bakery. It also plans on reopening beauty departments within its Shoppers Drug Mart drugstores and reopening its President’s Choice Financial pavilions and Mobile Shops across its food formats.

Source: IGD Research

Next-day store pickup for grocery ecommerce

Following the easing of demand and adding fulfillment capacity, it will also start to be offer next-day pick-up through its PC Express online grocery service. It will also reintroduce fees for some of the most popular time slots. In-store, it will also start to accept product returns and return to regular shopping hours. These changes will be phased in gradually, on a store-by-store basis, enabling the retailer to continue adjusting its approach. Measures put in place to support social-distancing will remain. These include enhanced cleaning protocols, plexiglass screens and capacity limits.

Longer-term format changes

Canada has been relatively successful to date in ‘flattening the curve’ which has enabled the relaxation of some of the lockdown mandates. These are being eased on a phased basis, with each province adopting its own approach, reflecting the severity of the pandemic. While these adjustments will be welcomed by shoppers, over time we expect to see a new approach to format development. Future stores will likely be designed to support social-distancing, be better equipped to meet extreme trading cycles and support stronger demand for ecommerce.

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