Loblaw launching online marketplace that will include new brands and products

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A man leaves a Loblaws store in Toronto on Thursday, May 3, 2018. Loblaw Companies Ltd. is increasing the variety of things it offers with an online marketplace that will include brands and products that it has not traditionally sold. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — Canada’s largest grocery chain is launching a “curated marketplace” online that will sell products and include brands the company hasn’t stocked before.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced Thursday the e-commerce shop will include more products in the baby, toy, home, kitchen and pet categories.

“Through this expanded PC Express offering, we will provide (customers) with a curated, edited assortment of products that complement their current shop, from some exciting new vendors,” Garry Senecal, Loblaw’s chief customer officer, said in a statement.

The shop will have products from new brands, including Umbra and Lennox Furniture Inc.

The company envisions giving customers the ability to buy products that complement what they’ve already added to their online carts.

“For example, as new parents prepare for a baby with diapers and formula, they would probably find it very convenient to able to order blankets, wash cloths or even a crib through us,” said Hesham Fahmy, vice-president of digital.

Customers will earn PC Optimum points on purchases, and their orders can be delivered to their homes or made available for in-store pick up.

The new marketplace expands the company’s general merchandise offering, which it already sells in store, with complementary goods “that strengthen the core offering and enhance convenience and loyalty,” Irene Nattel, an analyst with RBC Dominion Securities Inc., wrote in a note.

RBC doesn’t anticipate the marketplace will add a meaningful contribution in the short term, she said, but as the company expands the product assortment and the business matures “the initiative should help drive modest top line and margin growth in time.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2019.

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