Loblaws - A True Canadian Shopping Experience

Posted on October 4, 2021

Unlike many of the grocery stores around our country, Loblaws is a genuinely Canadian brand. Loblaws pioneered the 'self serve' concept in Canada back when they opened in 1919. Before that, the traditional grocery store would provide full service where customers had to wait in line while a clerk fetched items from storage or behind the counter.

Loblaws has been ahead of innovation many times since they opened. Did you know that they were the first grocery company to develop their own private label? That was the 'No Name' revolution. Once the parent company George Weston Limited also opened the Real Canadian Superstore, another private label was born called 'President's Choice'.

Another innovation by Loblaw Companies was President's Choice Financial. From groceries to financial products is a big leap and Loblaws pulled it off! Now, you can even get a selection of President's Choice Financial Mastercards!

Loblaw Companies stores are everywhere now. No Frills, Extra Foods (Western Canada), Real Canadian Superstore, Provigo (Quebec), Zehrs (Ontario),  Atlantic Superstore (the Maritimes), and Shopper's Drug Mart are all under the banner of their flagship company. Loblaws owns the rights to numerous recognized brands like President's Choice, Joe Fresh, Teddy's Choice, and Life Brand.

From that first small shop at 2923 Dundas St. W. Toronto, Loblaws has made inroads into the shopping needs of Canadians all over the country.

Loblaws Flyer

You have seen grocery flyers fall out of your weekly mailbox stuffer local newspaper since you were a kid. They've been around a very long time. These flyers have reliably informed you of specials on different food items since the printing press started printing out newspapers.

Loblaws Flyers Then and Now

Looking at a Loblaws flyer from 1938 and comparing it to today's Loblaws flyers, you can see some interesting changes. Those changes aren't only how very much less food cost back then.

Thinking about costs relative to each other, in 1938 you would pay 35 cents for two 14-ounce bottles of Heinz ketchup and a prime rib roast would be 24 cents per pound. Comparing this to prices today at Loblaws, you'll pay about $4 for the same amount of ketchup. Meanwhile, your prime rib roast will run you approximately $17 per pound.

These changes reflect the evolution of the food industry. Processing and packaging food products have become more cost-effective whereas the cost of raising and processing beef has increased substantially.

Another interesting change to note is that brands of food items were not so prominent on the flyers in the past. Today, brand is everything. When you make your food selection, you almost always have a favourite brand.

This is because we have so much more choice in brands of the foods we eat. We can choose among many brands of juices and baked beans (pork & beans) and we usually have preferences. In the past, the choice of brand was limited usually to one or two.

Shop Your Loblaws Stores

Loblaws Canada is working toward offering greener alternatives to those newsprint flyers. You can find digital Loblaws flyers on any of dozens of websites. Flyerify, Smartcanucks, Weeklyflyers, and Flyerhunters are just a few of the sites that offer these.

You can always recognize Loblaws flyers thanks to the familiar Loblaws logo of four nested Ls. Don't forget the affiliate stores like No Frills or the Real Canadian Superstore! They all have their own weekly flyers available online at any of these websites.


The most recent innovation in grocery shopping that Loblaws brought in during the pandemic is their new Click & Collect service. You don't only get to look at a PDF of the flyer, now you can shop online and click on the items you want.

Once you've placed your order, you choose where you want to pick it up by providing your location. During the COVID pandemic, this is considered a safer way to shop. It is also very convenient and saves time.

Loblaws Stock

Loblaw Companies is a profitable investment option because of its presence as the largest pharmacy and grocery chain in the country. Even during the COVID-19 crisis, Loblaws has continued to grow and show profit and pay dividends. Currently, Loblaws is paying a dividend yield of 1.7% and the Motley Food Stock Advisor Canada recently issued a BUY alert on the Loblaws TSX Stock.

This has not always been the case. During the 1960s and 70s, Loblaws was struggling due to its tendency of aggressive expansion. In the late 1960s, Loblaws sold off millions in assets to the very wealthy George Weston Limited as they attempted to recover losses.

They needed to refurbish their tarnished image. It took a complete makeover of Loblaw's corporate image and retail space. A part of this new image was the iconic Loblaws logo with the Ls. 

Bringing in William Shatner of Star Trek, they began a new TV advertising campaign. Shatner informed TV viewers, "More than the price is right...but by gosh, the price is right."

Loblaw companies became competitive again and its stock rose significantly as it brought 'No Name' items and added No Frills stores to their repertoire. The growth continued in the 1980s with President's Choice products which promised to be better than more expensive brands.

Dave Nichol, the president of Loblaws began to produce his own infomercials with the goal of building brand recognition. He then launched a newsletter which he called 'Insider's Report' which quickly became very popular. By 1986 more than five million Canadians were reading Insider's Report.

Loblaws stock began to rise and by the mid-1980s it was a $32.5 billion grocery business. In 1994, when Walmart moved into Canada, Loblaws had to regroup. The Loblaw Companies and Provigo merged in 1998 bringing more business from Quebec customers.

Loblaws continues to expand aggressively and has now bought a minority stake in the telemedicine company Maple Corp. It looks like Loblaws will now be offering virtual medicine along with their other diversified interests in pharmacy, food, and finance.

Loblaws Checkout Game

One way to make a mark with your brand is to have a game made about you by Milton Bradley. A 'Loblaws Checkout Game' that Milton Bradley created was recently discovered on eBay. The gameplay is very similar to what grocery shopping looks like with lists and a shopping cart.

Loblaws must have had a good share of the market to get a game made about them by such a prominent game-creating company!

Loblaws Store Toronto

Loblaws Near Me - We Promise There’s One Close By

Is there a Loblaws near you? You can easily find out by going to StoreLocate.ca and typing in Loblaws. You'll have to input your location. 

If you look on Loblaws website they claim that 90% of Canadians live within 10 kilometres of one of their locations. Rural Canadians may not agree.

On the other hand, if you consider the number of banners Loblaws operates under, they may be correct. If you don't have the iconic Loblaws in your neighbourhood, you very likely have an Extra Foods or Real Canadian Superstore or even a Provigo or Atlantic Superstore.

You may purchase your gas at a local Mobil which is owned by Loblaw Companies. You may get your nutritional supplements or medications at your local Shopper's Drug Mart. If you're in Vancouver or Calgary, maybe you shop at T&T Supermarket, an Asian grocery store chain also under the Loblaw Companies' banner.

Loblaws is everywhere, there's no doubt about it.

In 2021, Loblaw Companies Limited received an award for being one of Canada's top 100 employers. At the same time, it received recognition as one of Canada's Greenest Employers. Since there most likely is a Loblaws near you, perhaps it's time to look at Loblaws careers and see if there's something for you!

Loblaws Pharmacy

Loblaw Companies entered the healthcare industry early on. It was with the acquisition of Shopper's Drug Mart that this part of their empire really took off. 

In 1923 a Romanian immigrant, Leon Koffler opened Koffler's Drug Store. In 1962 Koffler's son Murray followed in his father's footsteps and opened Canada's first self-serve pharmacy. He called it Shopper's Drug Mart.

Murray Koffler did very well with his enterprise and began producing his own brand of products for his pharmacy. He called them Life Brand. By 1987, Canada Post outlets were added and he opened the first 24-hour full-service Shopper's Drug Mart.

In 1991, Shopper's Drug Mart added the HealthWATCH® drug plan. The Shoppers Optimum program began in 2000 and was really popular with customers, adding six million members in just one year.

Shopper's Drug Mart, under the banner of Loblaws now offers many healthcare solutions including dietitians, opticians and medical cannabis shops.

Loblaws and You

In little over 100 years, Loblaws grew from a small start-up grocery store with innovative ideas to a highly diversified corporation with interests in many different industries. From food to finance to fuel to pharmacy, Loblaws provides for the needs of Canadians.

In the same way, you need to provide for your family and make sure that you have all the health insurance you need. Insurdinary can help you find the best insurance options for you and your loved ones.

Get a quote today on the best insurance policy to meet your needs.

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