Poll results: Is grocery's wave of consolidation good for business?


Target’s arrival in Canada was supposed to be the big news of 2013.

But the red and white bull’s-eye invasion was quickly swept off the front page by two blockbuster acquisitions: Sobeys’ purchase of Canada Safeway in June and Loblaw’s buyout of Shoppers Drug Mart in July.

READ: Target looks to rebuild the buzz in Canada

Not since 1998, when Sobeys bought Oshawa Food Group and Loblaw took over Provigo, has the Canadian grocery industry seen such a massive sweep of takeovers.

More consolidation could come. Experts predict that Metro and drugstore chains that compete with Shoppers will now need to grow in size. Acquisitions and mergers seems about the only way.

But is all this consolidation a good thing for consumers, retailers and suppliers?

Some don’t think so. Groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, for instance, have voiced their concern.

READ: Loblaw-Shoppers deal bad for business, say independents

But what do you think? In our recent Canadian Grocer online poll, we asked our readers. The results were eye opening.

Only 11% of you agreed with the assessment that the Sobeys-Safeway and Loblaw-Shoppers mergers will create a stronger healthier industry.

By comparison, one in three of you (34%) didn’t think these deals are good at all. You agreed with the statement “consolidation is going to hurt independent grocers and shrink opportunities for suppliers.”

Another 11% of you channeled your inner Milton Friedman and said the free market would be the best judge, separating the winners from the losers.

READ: At the big chains, duking it out for every last square foot

But nearly half of you (44%) chose to see a silver lining in consolidation, namely that it might keep European and American food retailers from invading Canada.

We’ll just have to wait and see if that's how it turns out.

This week’s poll question: What phase is your organization at when it comes to offering digital wallet options to customers? To answer, go to our home page. The poll is in the lower right corner.

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