Loblaws Speeds up PC Express Innovations

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Loblaws Speeds up PC Express Innovations

By Jamie Grill-Goodman - 11/15/2019
Loblaw is teaming with Takeoff to build an automated picking facility that will launch next year inside a Toronto-area Real Canadian Superstore

Canadian grocer Loblaws is testing new retail innovations around its PC Express service, which is successful thanks to shoppers’ adoption of store pickup.

“We continue to enhance PC Express processes like our picking app designed to increase efficiency, accuracy, and job satisfaction of our in-store team,” said president Sarah Davis. “We are now building an in-store automated picking area that turns 12,000 square feet of less productive space into a high-tech order fulfillment area dedicated to PC Express orders. This pilot will automate picking up the highest velocity items, helping our in-store teams fill more orders faster and more efficiently right in your own neighborhood.”

Loblaw Companies 2019 Q3 Highlights

"With a focus on improving sales performance, we delivered solid financial results in the quarter," said Galen G. Weston, cxecutive chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited. 

  • Same-store sales and drug retail grew 4.1%, its strongest quarter since Q2 2016.
  • Front store same-store sales grew 3.1% and pharmacy same store sales grew 5.3%. 
  • Revenue increased 2.3% when compared to the third quarter of 2018.
  • Retail segment sales were up 2.2% when compared to the third quarter of 2018.
  • Food retail (Loblaw) same-store sales growth was 0.1%. Food retail same-store sales growth was approximately 1.0% after excluding the unfavorable impact of the timing of Thanksgiving.

Construction is currently underway at a Real Canadian Superstore, RIS’ sister publication Progressive Grocer reports, and the micro-fulfillment center will launch in 2020 and be made possible through Takeoff Technologies technology. When open, it will be able to support PC Express orders in select stores close to the automated picking facility.

Loblaw operates 700 PC Express pickup locations at transit stations, pharmacies and in grocery stores across Canada, where customers can order online and pick up order or choose to have their groceries delivered. 

The highest penetration of PC Express is in Western Canada, so the retailer has renovated seven of its PC Express locations there in order to expand for the amount of volume it’s seeing, Davis noted during the company’s recent earnings call. The automated picking facility pilot is meant to support these efforts.

“We don't know exactly what that could turn into,” she noted.

Additionally, Loblaws just opened a new PC Express pickup point in an urban Toronto condo building, where it can provide a full grocery shop order waiting for residents when they get home.

“The initial response has been stronger than we expected,” said Davis. “And we are delighted to see that most of the customers are new to PC Express. Ultimately, we know we need to continue to retain and attract customers.

Our trajectory is improving. We have momentum and data-driven insights. Our process and efficiencies are funding our future. And we are investing in areas, where we have proven strength. We have more work to do, but we have confidence in our strategy.”