Loblaw Group has launched what it calls the “second rollout” of its Provigo Le Marché concept in Quebec.
The new edition of the “epicurean market” store is a former Loblaw located on the site of the former Jean-Talon train station, a heritage building in the multi-ethnic Parc-Extension neighbourhood of Montreal. The store remained open during renovations.
Another Provigo Le Marché opened in Aylmer late last month, bringing the total in Quebec to nine. Upcoming openings will be in Boucherville this month and in the Montreal suburb of Pierrefonds on the West Island in July, where a Loblaw will be transformed.
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A smaller, urban Provigo Le Marché with greater emphasis on prepared foods is slated for a new condominium project adjacent to the Bell Centre in downtown Montreal.
Dandoy denied that all Loblaw stores in Quebec will become Provigo Le Marchés. “Loblaw is a strong brand in Quebec,” he says. “We always have to evaluate the retail business but Loblaw for the moment is remaining in Quebec.”
With more than 6,000 square metres, the Jean-Talon store adds new features like a gelato counter with 12 flavours, and maintains features such as the wall of cheese seen in other Provigo Le Marchés. However, the cheese selection has grown to about 375, compared to about 300 when the first Provigo Le Marché opened last year, with most varieties from Quebec.
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Provigo Le Marché stores have been “extremely well-received," says Pierre Dandoy, senior vice-president of operations for Provigo, Provigo Le Marché and Loblaws in Quebec. Net Promoter Scores of the stores are evaluated monthly and sales results are very good, he says.
Dandoy would not divulge how much is spent on each store “for reasons of competition.” Last year, Loblaw invested $100 million in Quebec among its various banners. For 2013-14, Quebec investments are topping $210 million.
The new store has created about 70 jobs (about 40% full-time), compared to the previous Loblaw, bring the total employee count to about 200.
Its new features include a more upscale café that sells Illy coffee, an oyster bar, olive bar, larger selection of cut fruit and a sushi counter that allows customers to have personalized orders prepared.
As well, there is a wider variety of ready-to-eat meals, including Panini sandwiches and new varieties of thin and thick slice pizza. Also available is more than 120 varieties of organic fruits and vegetables, including an increased variety of local fare.