ETOBICOKE, Ontario (FNS) -- Agora Food Merchants here, the retail division of Oshawa Group, has launched its first four Tradition concept stores in the Province of Quebec.
The new format, which emphasizes fresh foods and private label items, is aimed at operators with 6,000 to 15,000 square feet of space, officials told SN.
Agora plans to spend $7 million ($10 million Canadian) in Quebec over the next year to convert 25 stores to the Tradition banner from either the IGA or Bonichoix banners, both of which are supplied by Agora.
Agora launched the Tradition banner in Ontario late last year.
As reported in SN, the stores feature about 50% perishables, including meat, produce, deli, bakery and meal solutions, plus a selection of Oshawa Group's Our Compliments high-end private label items.
Agora said it decided to launch the Tradition banner following a thorough analysis of the Canadian food retailing industry, said Denis Grenier, marketing director for the Quebec Division.
He said the 6,000-15,000-square-foot food retail segment accounts for about $700 million in sales annually in Quebec.
"Our most significant finding was that groceries in the intermediate banner segment are not meeting the market demand, specifically with regard to fresh foods," he said.
As a result, the Tradition stores will target the 35-to-54 age group, which represents about 40% of the adult population, and is growing. This group has more discretionary income and prefers to shop at a smaller supermarket close to home, said Grenier.
Agora-affiliated retailers operate under nine banners, including IGA, Bonichoix and Boni-Soir convenience stores.