Posted April 15, 2018 05:14:18 Canadian grocery stores are struggling to keep up with demand.
They have struggled to keep the pace of expansion and the volume of orders.
“If you look at our sales, we’re losing about 25 per cent of our customers each month, every single month,” says Linda Dufresne.
She’s one of the co-founders of the local supermarket chain, Cherry Valley Liquors.
“The number of people we have are going down by 10 per cent a month.”
Dufre says the chain has been losing more customers than it has buying products.
“It’s hard to put a price tag on that.”
With its dwindling stock of goods, the chain says it’s closing some stores.
In the meantime, it’s putting its business online.
It’s also making a bid to get back in the Canadian grocery game.
It launched its first online store in May.
Cherry Valley has had a small grocery store since the 1970s.
But its success has been a long time coming.
The chain is one of only two in Canada to offer online ordering, and it started as a one-stop-shop for all its products.
It began with only two stores, but now has 15, and they have expanded rapidly.
It now has stores in the Vancouver area, and in Montreal.
With a population of almost 1.3 million, Cherry Village has become the largest town in British Columbia.
Dufrest says online ordering is one part of the chain’s strategy to stay relevant.
“When you’re losing people, you can’t keep going with the old model,” she says.
“You have to evolve, and we’re on the cusp of doing that.”
Dividers are trying to stay ahead of the curve in their strategy, too.
The company is looking to expand its online presence and to find more customers in the next few years.
But it has been hit by some major changes in the grocery industry.
In June, grocery chain Coles announced that it would not renew its franchise agreement with its former parent company Loblaw Companies Inc. in 2021.
The decision has affected Coles, which was already in the process of closing stores in Toronto and Montreal.
Coles said in a statement that it was looking to partner with “innovative grocery brands” to bring the chain back online.
The new Loblaws will not be renewing its Loblaw franchise agreement in 2021, Coles spokeswoman Susan Sousa said in an email.
That means Coles is likely to shut down the company’s three-store store model, which it used to offer for more than 20 years.
The Coles store closures are just the latest to hit the chain.
The retailer is looking for a new buyer, but it has had to cut its workforce by 30 per cent.
In a recent interview with CBC News, Colis CEO Ian Stewart said he hopes to attract new investors to help it keep its doors open.
“We’ve been a little bit slow to evolve and take advantage of all the new technology that we’re seeing in our industry,” Stewart said.
He added that Coles has become more efficient with the amount of time it takes to deliver products.
Colys online store will be open by early 2018.
Divider Cherry Valley says it expects to open three new stores in 2019.
It also says it is planning to invest $500 million to expand online ordering.
It will be in the business of selling grocery and convenience items, including produce, meats and dairy products.
But in a recent statement, Cols said the online ordering model will continue to be a key part of its business.
“For the foreseeable future, the only place we’ll be selling groceries is in our local grocery store,” it said.
But the chain isn’t completely out of the grocery business just yet.
The Canadian Grocers Association said it is still evaluating the impact online ordering would have on Coles.
“As we review the data, we are expecting a significant impact on Colies operations,” says association president Jim McNeill.
“What we are looking at is the impact on the business and how it could impact Coles.”
With files from CBC’s Dan McGreal