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Loblaw opens latest Provigo Marche in Quebec

Retailer announces plans to open new store near Bell Centre in Montreal

Loblaw’s is building a Provigo le Marché supermarket in downtown Montreal across from the Bell Centre, the retailer announced last week as officials cut the baguette to open their latest Provigo le Marché, a former Loblaw’s in the Laurentian ski community of Saint Sauveur, about 60 kms north of Montreal.

The expansion, renovation and rebranding of the Loblaw store is a “several million dollar” 64,600 sq. ft. showpiece with 30 per cent more space than the store it replaced.

The store has ripped out its four self-checkouts and replaced them with small express cashes manned by cashiers.

Quebecers like technology and like the self check outs, said senior vice president or operations, Pierre Dandoy, but the new express checkouts, stripped of point-of-purchase candy and magazines, will make it easier and faster for customers to pop in and pick up just a few things, he said.

Self-checkouts will be removed on a store-by-store case-by-case basis, he said.

The store has added 60 full and part time jobs, said company spokesman Hugues Mousseau.

The renovation was rushed to get the store open in time for tourists and the ski season, said Dadoy. Eating well is part of the après ski life, he said.

This is the fifth Provigo le Marché to open, with another in Vaudreuil, a Montreal suburb and one in Charlevoix in the next two weeks. The Sherbrooke store was built from scratch.

There are 75 Provigo, 28 Loblaw and five Provigo le Marché in Quebec.

The brand name Loblaw is being replaced in most locations by the new banner Provigo le Marché, “a return to roots,” said Dandoy.

The Saint Sauveur supermarket is a bright, massive square building with customers entering in the centre where they are faced with a glistening cupcake and cake counter, where previously fresh produce had ruled.

The new concept has what are basically a selection of boutiques along its perimeter, including an espresso bar with a few tables, joined by a made-to-order sushi bar, oyster bar, shrimp bar, ready-to-eat meals, salad and olive bar, pasta and pasta sauces and an expanded deli counter with 400 different cheeses, 300 of which are made in Quebec.

The store has beefed up its bread baking with Montreal-style bagels in several varieties and has enlarged its fresh fish and seafood counter as well as its butcher, with more Quebec beef and lamb a well as speciality aged beef.

“In Quebec there is more square foot of grocery store space per person than anywhere else in Canada,” said Dandoy, who’s been working food retail for 40 years.

Loblaw/Provigo is spending $100 million in the rebranding and renovating its Quebec stores, Mousseau said.

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