Metro Inc. - History

History

The company was founded in 1947 in Verdun, Quebec by Rolland Jeanneau. Many independent grocery stores joined the company to form Magasins Lasalle Stores Ltée. In 1952, Magasins Lasalles Stores Ltée change its name to Épiceries Lasalle Groceteria. The company had 43 affiliated grocery stores at the time. In 1955, they were 50 franchised stores and the company with a revenue of $2 million. The company gained fame in 1956 through an advertisement in La Presse which showed turkeys sold for 39 cents. That year, mayor Jean Drapeau was already talking about implementing in Montreal a rapid transit under the name Metro. This inspired the company to create a division called Metro. Other grocery stores joined the company bringing its number of stores to 73 in 1957 with revenue of $10 million.

Emphasizing on the success of the Metro division, the company formally renamed itself Metro-Lasalle in 1963. In 1972, Metro-Lasalle changed its name to Metro-Ltée. Metro merged with the Marché Richelieu grocery chain in 1975 to become Groupe Metro-Richelieu Inc in 1976.

In the early 1980s, Metro went through harder times due to fierce competition from Provigo and the recession. Metro merged with Epiciers Unis Inc and took on the name Metro-Richelieu Inc. (dropping the "Groupe" from its name). During the rest of the 1980s, fared better and entered the Montreal Stock Exchange in 1986.

Metro suffered from the early 1990s recession. A restructuring plan was established, a new logo was created and changes were brought in the management team. Metro acquired 48 of 112 Steinberg supermarkets when that company went bankrupt in 1992. These stores were rebranded as Super C and Metro stores. Metro entered the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1993. It acquired Loeb Stores from Loblaws in 1999. The Metro Plus banner was established in the early 2000s taking the former spaces of Canadian Tire that had been relocated to standalone locations. Some of the stores were converted to "Super C", while others continued to operate as Loeb. The Super C stores in Ontario were converted to Food Basics. In 2009, the company converted all Loeb stores to Metro.

Following completion of its acquisition of A&P Canada on August 15, 2005, after beating out Sobeys in a bidding war, Metro now has a network in Quebec and Ontario of 573 conventional and discount food stores, and 256 pharmacies. Metro holds the second largest market share in the food distribution and retailing business in Quebec and Ontario with nearly $11 billion in sales and more than 65,000 employees. Metro operates its food stores under the banners Metro, Metro Plus, Super C, Food Basics, Marché Ami and Les 5 Saisons. Its pharmacies operate under the banners Brunet, The Pharmacy, Clini-Plus, and Drug Basics.

On August 7, 2008, Metro announced it would invest $200 million consolidating the company's conventional food stores under the Metro banner. Over a period of 15 months, all Dominion, A&P, Loeb, the Barn and Ultra banners are being converted to the Metro name. Food Basics stores are not affected as it competes in the discount food segment.

Following Metro's expansion into Ontario, it used two different slogans in its advertising: "Profession: épicier" in Quebec, and "Food at its best" in Ontario.

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