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Loblaw Co. Ltd.

Loblaw's Real Canadian Superstore.

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Loblaw Co. Ltd., Canada's leading supermarket chain, had been operating its Real Canadian Superstore, its price-focused retail banner, in western Canada for more than 10 years before deciding to bring the concept eastward last year.

Recognizing customers' growing appetite for lower prices on food and everyday household items, the superstore concept aims to serve as a full-shop destination. At 125,000 square feet, the Toronto store is one of the banner's largest, and consists of three levels. On the ground level, located below the actual store, is a parking lot, Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, dry cleaner and community room (for hosting everything from cooking demonstrations to birthday parties). The main grocery store, located one level up, is accessible via movators, inclined treadmills that also accommodate shoppers' carts. A mezzanine level houses a women's fitness facility and daycare.

“The idea is to become a positive center within the community, providing services that fit into our daily lives,” says Jim King, executive vp, store design, at Perennial Inc. (Toronto), which has worked with Loblaw since 1995.

That quest takes precedence along the grocery aisles, too. The store is cut in half, with food on one side and non-perishables, including a pharmacy, health clinic and beauty, optical, kitchen and electronics departments, on the opposite side. Two entrances – one to the pharmacy area and the other into the fresh foods department – allow shoppers to access and use the store according to their needs. “It's trying to accommodate a number of different shopping experiences,” says King.

A Meals to Go area placed front and center on the main level offers quick meal solutions. A natural color palette, terra cotta tiles and curved copper department bulkheads add a fresh market environment. Directional signage with photographic images of products helps shoppers navigate the large store (while also delivering Loblaws' message of price savings). “Clarity of message is critical,” says King.

Since 1919, when it opened its doors in Toronto, Loblaw has been establishing its brand on Canadian soil. And while Wal-Mart has landed in Canada, it has yet to introduce its hypermarket concept there. Thus, Loblaw's Superstore concept has a chance to dig in its heels as the price-savings superstore in Canada.

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“Loblaw has looked at customers' wants and needs and asked how can we provide for shoppers' needs in their daily lives,” King adds.

Client: Loblaw Companies Ltd., Toronto
Fred Dumas, senior vp, store design and development
Larry Lee, vp, store planning and development
Matt Schoular, project director
Mike Farquhar, director, store merchandising and development
Paul Mumford, senior director of projects

Design: Perennial Inc., Toronto
Andrew Yeung, director, environments
Faye Bubel, junior designer, environments
Brent Roth, director of design, creative
Mike Kazlac, junior designer, creative
Vern Gomes, business director
Teresa Fil, junior business manager
Joe Jackman, chairman and chief creative officer
Jim King, executive vp, store design

Architect: Turner Fleischer Architects Inc., Toronto

Outside Design Consultant: Hammerschlau & Joffe, Toronto (lighting, engineering and graphics)

General Contractor: Carwell Construction, Toronto

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Fixtures: Display Fixtures, Winnipeg, Man.
Lozier, Grand Island, N.Y.
Shaw Woodworks Inc., Collingwood, Ont.

Flooring: Centura Tiles, Toronto

Furniture: ISA, Toronto

Lighting: Lightolier Toronto

Props and decoratives: Food Supplies Distributing, Concord, Ont.

Signage/Graphics: Ad Display, Quebec
Sommerville Merchandising, Toronto
Panigas, Toronto

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Flooring: Savoia Canada, Toronto
GE Shnier Co., Toronto

Photography: Richard Johnson, Toronto

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