Dollarama hires Metro senior executive as chief operating officer

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MONTREAL – Dollarama says it has hired Metro supermarket chain senior executive Johanne Choiniere as the discount retailer’s chief operating officer.

She replaces Stephane Gonthier who headed to California last summer to become CEO of 99 cents Only.

Dollarama (TSX:DOL) CEO Larry Rossy said Choiniere is a “seasoned operator with an excellent track record” and an ideal candidate to drive its continued growth.

The Bishop’s University graduate has worked at Montreal-based Metro (TSX:MRU) since 1999, most recently as senior vice-president of its Ontario division.

Analysts called the appointment positive because of Choiniere’s “extensive experience” in the Canadian retail sector.

Choiniere is the third executive to leave the supermarket chain in about two years, following the departure of Robert Sawyer to head Rona (TSX:RON) and Richard Dufresne to George Weston Ltd. (TSX:WN).

Irene Nattel of RBC Capital Markets said the departures are a reflection of the lack of bilingual local talent with retail experience, rather than any overriding problem at Metro.

“In our view, the departures are a reflection of Metro’s very strong culture/talent in retail management and operations and the relative paucity of retail management in Canada rather than symptomatic of something fundamentally wrong at Metro,” she wrote in a report.

Dollarama is the leading dollar store operator in Canada with 874 locations selling products for up to $3.

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