Loblaw Cos. Ltd. Announces Plans to Test New Health Store Franchise Idea
Loblaw Cos. will launch a pilot health store called Nutshell by this year. The targeted consumer base is composed of upmarket health conscious Torontonians
By: Hyder Owainati, Staff Writer
Canada’s largest food retailer Loblaw Cos. Ltd. is experimenting with the idea of launching a new retail subsidiary called Nutshell Live Life Well – aimed at better capturing the growing market of health conscious consumers.
Beginning this fall, a pilot location will open up in downtown Toronto to test out the performance and commercial viability of launching this new franchise.
Apart from providing an assortment of prepared, fresh and packaged foods, the health food store promises to offer a plethora of other products and services, including a prescription pharmacy, natural health and beauty products, vitamins and supplements.
Nutshell outlets will also connect shoppers with a crew of educated and helpful in-store experts. Coined as “Health Nuts”, Loblaw’s company spokeswomen Julija Hunter, claims that these specialists will offer help to consumers seeking advice on a variety of issues ranging from diets, exercises, sleep and stress relief.
Nutshell is Loblaw’s answer to the Whole Foods supermarket chain, whose CEO announced only a month ago that the corporation plans to expand its operations in Canada with nine stores to be opened across British Columbia and Ontario.
“It’s a convenience-based, fresh food led drug-store model,” that will offer a variety of “fresh, natural and healthy food and living ideas.” – Loblaw’s company spokeswoman Julija Hunter.
Apart from Whole Foods, Nutshell is poised to face competition from discount operators as well. Target is just one example of such a retail chain, which continues to rapidly expand and diversify their operations. Wal-Mart’s attempts to seize the urban market, such as the corporation’s proposed expansion into Kensington Market made earlier this year, represents yet another significant threat.
Overall, Nutshell represents just another step in Loblaw’s strive to win over the health conscious market segment, having already successfully launched two health food lines: PC Organics in 2001, an internal line of organic foods and PC Blue Menu in 2005, a line of food products with lower salt, fat and sugar than other packaged goods.
Hyder Owainati is a student at the University of Toronto, who loves to write short stories, read books and collect comics. You can follow his work at http://the-three-muses.tumblr.com/