Loblaw to close 52 unprofitable stores including pharmacies, grocery stores
Toronto: Loblaw Companies Ltd. has put its neighbourhood drug stores and supermarkets under a microscope as it responds to increasing competition and will shutter 52 locations in the coming year after concluding they fell short of expectations. The company said in its second-quarter earnings report on Thursday that the closures will save $35 million to $40 million in annual operating income, despite the loss of $300 million in sales. Loblaw president and executive chairman Galen Weston Jr. said that the company is focused on finding efficiencies as growth slows. In a normal year, he added, the company would close 10 to 15 stores. “Yes, it’s an increase, but it’s not radi- cally different,’’ he said in a conference call with analysts and investors. “It doesn’t signal any kind of change from a strategic perspective.’’ The closures will be distributed across the country and include previously announced closures of Joe Fresh operations in the U.S., though they would not make a “material change’’ to the clothing line’s Canadian locations, he said.