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A look at Metro Inc.

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On any given day, thousands of people peruse the aisles of some 950 Metro Inc. BB #:116082 retail stores in Quebec and Ontario, choosing from a wide array of products, including both common and exotic fresh fruits and vegetables.

Rolland Jeanneau could not have imagined the humble company he founded 75 years ago in Verdun, QC, would become one of the Big Three of Canadian grocery retailing.

Today, the grocery chain has annual revenue topping C$18 billion and an 11 percent market share—despite being a regional player with stores in only two of Canada’s provinces.

Solid Infrastructure
As a retailer, franchisor, distributor, and manufacturer headquartered in Montreal, Metro enjoys what a DBRS Morningstar article characterizes as a “well-established brand and market position in Ontario and Quebec, diversified formats and banners, and disciplined financial management.”

Each store under its 11 banners (see below) is operated by one of four subsidiaries (Metro Richelieu, Metro Ontario, Adonis Group, or Première Moisson), a franchisee, or affiliate.

Metro also includes 342 Servi Express and Dépanneurs Gem convenience stores and 618 drugstores under the Jean Coutu, Brunet, Metro Pharmacy, and Food Basics Pharmacy banners.

Eric La Flèche, Metro’s CEO, was named Canada’s “Outstanding CEO of the Year” in October 2020. He has spent 31 years with the company, serving as president and chief executive officer since 2008.

La Flèche is known to say, “Retail is detail”—and this seems to be one of the company’s enduring keys to success.

“It’s a well-managed company overall,” comments Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS. “Metro is known to understand its market.”

Metro’s approach to the grocery business continues to resonate with customers. Just last September, Metro was given “distinguished recognition” by DART I&C in a consumer poll on the most respected grocery/food retailers in Canada.

Metro came in third behind Costco and Your Independent Grocer (a Loblaw franchise banner), and ahead of rivals Loblaw and Sobeys.

For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, Metro Inc. reported sales totaling nearly C$18.3 billion, up 1.6 percent compared to fiscal 2020 and up 9 percent from 2019. Net income was up 3.7 percent from the prior year and up 15.6 percent compared with 2019.

Metro Inc. Grocery Banners

Metro/Metro Plus
There are 198 Metro stores in Quebec and 130 in Ontario, plus 118 Metro Plus stores in Quebec.

Super C
Quebec’s 98 discount stores offer more than 23 varieties of fruits and vegetables in bulk, year-round, at a lower price than buying per unit.

Food Basics
A discount chain with 139 stores across Ontario with the slogan, “Always More for Less.”

Marché Richelieu
Known for their friendly atmosphere and fresh products, there are 53 stores in Quebec.

Marché AMI
These 307 small stores offer meat, produce, dairy, frozen foods, bakery products, and prepared meals.

Marché Adonis
An ethnic grocer specializing in fresh and Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods, which includes 11 stores in Quebec and 4 in Ontario.

Les 5 Saisons
Two Quebec stores offer high-end gourmet products, catering, gift baskets, and floral arrangements.

Première Moisson
These 28 bakeries specialize in artisan breads, pastries, deli items, ready-to-eat offerings, and gourmet specialties.

Servi Express and Dépanneurs Gem Convenience Stores
These 342 independent convenience stores in Quebec offer a customized grocery section; some stores include fresh produce.

This is an excerpt from the Canada Supplement to the March/April 2022 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole supplement.