Ontario and Quebec grocery chain Metro Inc. is investing $420 million towards the construction of a new distribution centre outside of Montreal, as well as an expansion to an existing facility in Laval, Que.
The company said last week it plans to build a new 600,000 sq. ft. automated distribution facility for fresh and frozen products in Terrebonne, which lies just north of Montreal. The state-of-the-art site will allow the grocery firm improve efficiency and reduce handling times in both the centres and the stores. Construction is scheduled to run until 2023.
“We are investing in order to remain at the forefront and better meet the expectations of our customers and our merchants, now and in the future,” said President and CEO Eric La Flèche. “For consumers, these new facilities will result in even more variety and freshness. We will be in an excellent position to pursue our growth in Quebec.”
Metro Montreal primed for expansion
All told, Metro is dedicating nearly $1 billion into Montreal and Ontario. Metro will invest $400-million development to modernize its Ontario distribution network, based in Toronto. In total the cost for both regions is $820 million.
The existing produce and dairy products distribution centre in Laval will be expanded by 50,000 square feet. This will enable it to handle more fruits and vegetables. Dairy products will then be distributed from the new Terrebonne facility.
Metro said it has partnered with the German firm Witron, which specializes in food distribution automation. The chain is already working with Witron on its Ontario development.
Metro operates or services a network of about 950 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, as well as some 650 drugstores primarily under the Jean Coutu, Brunet, Metro Pharmacy and Food Basics Pharmacy banners. Metro employs almost 90,000.