Metro Inc. is a Canadian food retailer operating in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. The company is based in Montreal, Quebec, with head office at 11011 Boulevard Maurice-Duplessis. Metro is the third largest grocer in Canada, after Loblaw Companies Limited and Sobeys.

Metro Inc.
Company typePublic
Founded1947; 77 years ago (1947) in Verdun, Quebec, Canada
FounderRolland Jeanneau [fr]
Number of locations
953 Grocery Stores
648 Drugstores (2020)
Areas served
Ontario, Quebec
Key people
Eric R. La Flèche (President and CEO)[1]
François Thibault (Senior Vice President, CFO, Treasurer)[1]
BrandsPrivate labels:
Super C
  • Increase CA$16.77 billion (2019)
  • Increase CA$14.38 billion (2018)
  • Increase CA$1,683.6 million
  • Increase CA$796.4 million
Total assets
  • Increase CA$13,423.9 million
Total equity
  • Increase CA$6,155.4 million
Number of employees
90,000 (2020)[2]
DivisionsFood Basics
Super C
Marché Richelieu
Les 5 Saisons
Marché Ami
The Barn Markets (Operating as "Metro")
Jean Coutu Group
Marché Adonis
Metro in Bramalea City Centre, Brampton
A 24-hour Metro store in Toronto at Bloor and Robert Streets

Super C is the discount supermarket division operated in Quebec with 106 stores,[3] averaging 4,000 m2 (43,056 sq ft). In Ontario, Metro has 144 discount[4] supermarkets under the Food Basics banner, which are very similar to the Super C stores. Large Metro stores in Quebec operate under the Metro Plus name. Metro also operates 51 groceries stores[5] under the Marché Richelieu banner.

In November 2007, Metro reported a 9.3% increase in earnings for the fiscal year ending September 29, 2007, making $276.6 million in 2007 compared to $253 million in 2006.[6] In 2011 Metro acquired a majority stake (55.5%) (CAD$153.8 million) in Marché Adonis, one of Quebec's biggest ethnic food retailers specializing in Mediterranean food (Marché Adonis sales CAD$73 million 2011). In a March 2020 press release, Metro announced that it will invest about $420 million within next five years for the construction of a new automated distribution centre for fresh and frozen products, which they hope to open in 2023.[7]

History edit

The company was founded in 1947 in Verdun, Quebec, by Rolland Jeanneau. Many independent grocery stores joined the company to form Magasins Lasalle Stores Ltée. In 1952, Magasins Lasalles Stores Ltée change its name to Épiceries Lasalle Groceteria. The company had 43 affiliated grocery stores at the time. In 1955, there were 50 franchised stores and the company had a revenue of $2 million. The company gained fame in 1956 through an advertisement in La Presse for turkeys at 39 cents. That year, mayor Jean Drapeau was already talking about implementing in Montreal a rapid transit system to be called the Montreal Metro. This inspired the company to create a division called Metro. Other grocery stores joined the company bringing its number of stores to 73 in 1957 with revenue of $10 million.

Because of the success of the Metro division, the company renamed itself Metro-Lasalle in 1963. In 1972, Metro-Lasalle changed its name to Metro-Ltée. Metro merged with the Marché Richelieu grocery chain in 1975 to become Groupe Metro-Richelieu Inc in 1976.

In the early 1980s, Metro went through harder times due to fierce competition from Provigo and the recession. Metro merged with Epiciers Unis Inc. and took on the name Metro-Richelieu Inc. (dropping the "Groupe" from its name). During the rest of the 1980s, it fared better and entered the Montreal Stock Exchange in 1986.[8]

Metro suffered from the early 1990s recession. A restructuring plan was established and changes were brought in the management team. Metro acquired 48 of 112 Steinberg supermarkets when that company went bankrupt in 1992. These stores were rebranded as Super C and Metro stores. Metro entered the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1993. It acquired Loeb Stores from Loblaws in 1999. The Metro Plus banner was established in the early 2000s. Some of the stores were converted to Super C, while others continued to operate as Loeb. The Super C stores in Ontario were converted to Food Basics. In 2009, the company converted all Loeb stores to Metro.[9]

Mergers and acquisitions edit

On July 19, 2005, after beating out Sobeys in a bidding war, Metro announced that it had reached an agreement with The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. and its subsidiary, A&P Luxembourg S.à.r.l., to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of A&P Canada, for an acquisition price of $1.7 billion, consisting of $1.2 billion in cash and $500 million in the form of treasury shares of Metro.[10] While the all-cash offer made by Sobeys was reportedly a higher bid than Metro's, it was suggested that the Sobey family was unwilling to cede any control to the Tengelmann Group, the ultimate parent company of A&P at the time. Though Sobeys remained the second largest grocery chain in Canada overall, it was a distant third-place in most of the provinces outside the Atlantic region, particularly Ontario where it was looking to bolster its weak position. A&P Canada was the second-largest grocery chain in Ontario after Loblaws, so Metro's takeover effectively vaulted it to a strong market position there where it previously had no presence.[11] The acquisition of A&P Canada was completed on August 15, 2005, with Metro having a network in Quebec and Ontario of 573 full-service and discount food supermarkets, and 256 pharmacies.[12]

On August 7, 2008, Metro announced it would invest $200 million consolidating the company's conventional food stores under the Metro banner.[13] Over a period of 15 months, all Dominion, A&P, Loeb, the Barn, and Ultra Food & Drug banners were converted to the Metro name. Food Basics stores were not affected as it competes in the discount food segment.

Baker section of a Metro store in Brampton

Metro now holds the second largest market share in the food distribution and retailing business in Quebec and Ontario with nearly $11 billion in sales and more than 65,000 employees. Its stores operate under the banners Metro, Metro Plus, Super C, Food Basics, Marché Ami, Les 5 Saisons and Marché Adonis.[14] Its pharmacies operate under the banners Brunet, The Pharmacy, Clini-Plus, and Drug Basics.

In 2017, Metro acquired Canadian meal kit service, Miss Fresh.[15]

In May 2018, Metro closed a $4.5 billion (CAD) acquisition of the Quebec drug chain Jean Coutu Group, making it one of Canada’s largest retailers and distributors of food and drugs.[16]

Unifor Local 414 Strike 2023 edit

On July 29, 2023, the strike started and the supermarket closed.

On July 29 2023, front-line grocery store workers represented by Unifor rejected a tentative collective agreement and took strike action at 27 Greater Toronto Area stores. The union's priorities include job precarity, job quality, wages and cost of living. The company reported high profits and earnings in its third quarter report.[17][18][19] The strike ended a month later, with all workers getting $1.50/hr increase immediately and full-time and senior part-time workers getting an additional $0.50/hr increase in January 2024.[20]

Loyalty programs edit

Stores under the Metro and Metro Plus banners offer one of the following loyalty programs:

  • Stores in Ontario, excluding those in Thunder Bay, participate in the Air Miles program. Customers earn 1 reward mile for every $20 spent cumulatively each week (Sunday to Saturday). Points may be redeemed for a variety of items, including in-store grocery redemptions (95 miles can be redeemed for $10 in groceries).[21]
  • Due to Metro's Ontario stores (then A&P Canada) joining Air Miles after Safeway, which has locations in Thunder Bay, Metro's locations in that city have their own loyalty program called Thunder Bucks. Similar to Air Miles, customers earn 1 Thunder Point for every $20 spent, and bonus-points promotions are generally equivalent to those offered for Air Miles in the rest of the province. However, points are automatically redeemed for gift certificates at the rate of 125 points per $20 gift certificate.[22]
  • For similar reasons (Air Miles has a partnership with Sobeys/IGA in Quebec), locations in Quebec have their own program, metro&moi (Metro and Me). Customers earn 1 point for every $1 spent; points are automatically converted to rewards vouchers which are mailed every three months at a rate of $1 per 125 points accumulated (with a minimum balance of 500 points required for vouchers to be mailed).[23]

In spring 2015, Metro agreed to drop its exclusivity on the Air Miles program in Ontario; as a result, Sobeys stores throughout that province now offer Air Miles rewards in parallel with Metro.[24] However, Sobeys (which now also owns Safeway Canada) did not reciprocate, and Metro continues to be unable to offer Air Miles in either Quebec or Thunder Bay.

Corporate governance edit

Members of the board of directors of Metro Inc. are: Réal Raymond (Chair), Marc Guay (Administrateur), Maryse Bertrand, François J. Coutu, Michel Coutu, Stephanie Coyles, Marc DeSerres, Claude Dussault, Russell Goodman, Christian W.E. Haub, Eric R. La Flèche, Christine Magee, Marie-José Nadeau, and Line Rivard.[25]

Locations edit

  • Metro stores listed below, particularly in Quebec, include independently owned and operated stores that franchised the Metro name and concept.

Ontario edit

131 locations:[26]

Quebec edit

197 Metro locations:[27]

120 Metro Plus locations:[28]

328 total

In-store brands edit

  • "Selection": regular store brand, generic products[29]
  • "Irresistibles": store brand products[30]
  • "Personnelle": pharmacy, health, and personal care products[31]
  • “Life Smart”: Snacks,small food items, etc

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "metro Management Team". Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Metro 2020 Annual Report" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Food | Metro". Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  4. ^ "Food | Metro". Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  5. ^ "Food | Metro". Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  6. ^ Metro Inc. shares plummet
  7. ^ "METRO to invest $420 million to build new, automated distribution centre in Terrebonne, Quebec". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  8. ^ "Metro, Inc. -". 3 November 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-08-22. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  9. ^ "Metro rolls out new look at former Loeb stores". Ottawa Citizen. 2009-04-26. Archived from the original on 2018-01-18. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  10. ^ Metro Inc. in deal to buy A&P Canada for $1.7B Archived 2008-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Yakabuski, Konrad (July 23, 2005). "Two CEOs dined, one got Apple Pie". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  12. ^ Metro Inc. corporate website Archived 2004-09-02 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Metro Inc. rebranding Ontario stores[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Metro's profits slide, but dividend rises by 20 per cent". Archived from the original on 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  15. ^ Charlebois, Sylvain (31 October 2017). "COMMENTARY: The rise of the grocerant". The Chronicle Herald. Archived from the original on 8 November 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2018. Metro made a significant move this year by acquiring Miss Fresh, and many expect other grocers to follow suit.
  16. ^ Redman, Russell (May 11, 2018). "Metro wraps up acquisition of Jean Coutu Group". Supermarket News. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  17. ^ Brown, Desmond (Jul 31, 2023). "Metro workers vow to stay off job 'as long as it takes' as strike enters 3rd day". CBC.
  18. ^ "GTA Metro grocery store workers reject tentative settlement, begin strike action". Unifor National. 2023-07-28. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  19. ^ "Metro posts massive profit as GTA workers continue to strike |". Global News. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  20. ^ "GTA Metro workers ratify second tentative agreement after month-long strike". City News Toronto. 2023-08-31. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  21. ^ Metro Inc. "Air Miles Member Benefits". Archived from the original on 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  22. ^ Metro Inc. "Thunder Bucks Member Benefits". Archived from the original on 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  23. ^ Metro Inc. "metro&moi Member Benefits". Archived from the original on 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  24. ^ "Sobeys to offer Air Miles in Ontario, too". Canadian Grocer. 2015-01-16. Archived from the original on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  25. ^ "Board of Directors". Metro Inc. May 11, 2018. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  26. ^ "Food | Metro". Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  27. ^ "Food | Metro". Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  28. ^ "Food | Metro". Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  29. ^ "Selection | Metro". Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  30. ^ "Irresistibles | Metro". Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  31. ^ "Jean Coutu deal starts paying off for Metro | Canadian Grocer". Retrieved 2021-04-04.