In the annals of retail history, Loblaws’ move to launch a drive-through grocery pick-up service could be followed by the statement “...and supermarkets were never the same again.”
Maybe. For the time being, Loblaws is testing the idea where it’s likeliest to succeed -- deep in suburbia, specifically in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill.
Loblaws’ “click and collect” program, as the retailer has dubbed it, will allow shoppers to log onto a website, place an order, and pick it up from a drive-through station, not unlike the one pictured above, at a Tesco supermarket in Britain.
Drive-through groceries are largely unheard-of in North America but have become fairly common in Europe. In France, one in five shoppers say they have used a drive-through pick-up service of this kind, the Toronto Star reports.
The paper notes that Save-on-Foods locations in Western Canada launched a similar service this month. It’s not yet known exactly when the Richmond Hill drive-through will open, though BlogTO says it’s likely later this year.
Loblaws announced the program shortly after its $12.4-billion buyout of Shoppers Drug Mart, and the company says it may expand the service to Shoppers locations, allowing customers to pick up Loblaws groceries at the pharmacy chain’s stores.
The drive-through, like the Shoppers merger, is seen as a move to solidify Loblaws’ position in the market in the face of tough new competition.
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