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Technology changes Quebec retail

Technological change—whether completely welcome or not—is coming to Quebec shopping.

Walmart is investing in scan-and-go technology, betting that today’s customers, who increasingly have the option of home delivery, just do not have the patience to stand in line at a grocery store.

“The major chain stores operating in the province of Quebec including Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Costco, and Walmart have spent millions of dollars retooling and upgrading their stores strategically,” said Douglas Purdy, president of Belmont Fruits of Outremont, QC

“Mergers, acquisitions, and expansion are in place to compete for precious market share. For example,” Purdy said, “Metro recently purchased in early 2018 Jean Coutu Pharmacy (the largest pharmacy chain in Montreal, QC) for $4.5 billion, while Loblaws purchased Shoppers Drug Mart for $12.4 billion in 2014. Costco also announced a $200 million investment in Quebec last year, including a $100 million distribution center.”

Such machinations mirror changes taking place in the U.S.’s retail sector.

“Canadian companies and/or their U.S. subsidiaries have no choice,” Purdy said, especially in what he calls the reality of Amazon. The retail giant is introducing a PrimeNow grocery delivery service for Canada, so the True North’s current top retailers are forced to up their game.

Purdy said Canada’s own Big Three “are banking on the future and spending millions to maintain their market share by investing in technology such as self-checkout, online grocery services, or pickup services and home deliveries of ready-to-eat meals and groceries.”

Further, Purdy said, “I have many friends and colleagues in the artificial intelligence sector—the technology and programs they foresee for the retail and food sectors in the near future are incredible.”

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full article.