Metro Announces a $400 Million Investment in Its Ontario Distribution Over 5 Years
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
TORONTO, ON - Metro Inc. continues to unveil strategies for growth. Already this month the chain entered a $3.6 billion deal to acquire Jean Coutu, then announcing plans to sell off $1.2 billion in Couche-Tard Holdings to fund the buy-out. Now, the company is investing more into its distribution power, with plans to put upwards of $400 million into its Ontario distribution network over the next six years.
"This investment will enable Metro to continue its growth and expansion in the Ontario market," said Eric R. La Flèche, President and Chief Executive Officer. "With a new and modernized supply chain infrastructure, we will be even more responsive to the needs of our customers."
The investment strategy will modernize its operations in Toronto between 2018 and 2023 by building a new fresh distribution facility and a new frozen distribution facility, according to a press release. Both are planned to leverage technological improvements, including automation.
"The new distribution centers will provide improved product assortment and selection accuracy as well as more flexibility which will allow us to improve service to our store network and customers," commented Carmen Fortino, Executive Vice President and Metro Ontario Division Head. "In addition, they will feature state-of-the-art technology to enhance efficiency."
The retailer currently operates six different distribution centers in Ontario, four of which are located in Toronto with two in Ottawa.
Metro said that it anticipates the decision to modernize and automate a part of its distribution network will result in losing approximately 180 full-time and 100 part-time positions of the over 1,500 it currently provides starting in 2021, adding that it acknowledges the impact its decision will have on these employees and their families.
"Working with our employees and our union, we will provide those who will be impacted by this decision with a range of transition measures to support them throughout the process," said Fortino. "Fortunately, we have some time to plan the transition."
Metro operates over 600 food stores under several banners, employing more than 65,000 throughout Ontario and Québec.