UPDATE 1-Canada's Loblaw to open over 50 stores, create 5,000 in-store jobs

Mon Mar 9, 2015 12:59pm EDT
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March 9 (Reuters) - Loblaw Cos Ltd, Canada's largest grocer, said on Monday that it would open more than 50 stores and renovate more than 100 in 2015, creating 5,000 in-store jobs.

The company, which operates under banners such as No Frills, Shoppers Drug Mart and Wholesale Club, had announced earlier that it would invest more than C$1.2 billion ($952.1 million) in its domestic business this year.

The investment will also stimulate about 15,000 construction and trade jobs, said Kevin Groh, Loblaw's vice president of corporate affairs and communication.

Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw has about 192,000 full- and part-time employees.

Loblaw and other Canadian retailers, such as Canadian Tire Corp Ltd and Empire Co, have been facing stiff competition from U.S. retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

But these retailers are widely expected to benefit from Target Corp's announcement in January that it would exit from Canada.

Wal-Mart said last month it would invest about C$340 million to expand in Canada this year.

Groh said the new stores Loblaw had planned for 2015 were "independent of our consideration of any Target sites."

Loblaw's investment includes e-commerce expansion and continued investment in supply chain and IT infrastructure, the company said in a statement.

Up to Friday's close, Loblaw's shares had risen about 33 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange in the last 12 months. The stock was little changed in afternoon trading on Monday. (Reporting by Anannya Pramanick in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Simon Jennings)