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    Metro Banner Debuts in Ontario with Six Stores

    The Montreal-based grocer said it is on course to become the largest grocery banner in the province by late 2009.

    The Metro banner came to Ontario last week with the conversion of six Dominion locations in Toronto, part of Metro's plan, following its acquisition of A&P Canada, to make its namesake banner the largest in the province.

    In line with the expansion strategy, Metro's five conventional grocery banners in Ontario (Dominion, A&P, Loeb, The Barn and Ultra) will all switch to the Metro banner over the next 15 months.

    "Launching the Metro name in Ontario is part of a long-term strategy to capitalize on the efficiency of operations and marketing activities in Ontario, and to pool the best practices in effect at our Quebec and Ontario stores," noted Metro v.p. marketing Serge Boulanger.

    According to Metro, all of the Dominion, Ultra, and The Barn stores will be converted before the end of 2008, while Loeb locations will change over during the first half of 2009, and A&P stores will switch by the end of that year.

    Food Basics stores are unaffected by these changes, since they fall into the discount stores category.

    The initiative is backed by a CAN $200 million investment to revamp stores, improve the produce offering, and kick off a new marketing campaign.

    The grocer now has 218 Metro stores in Quebec, and will eventually have 158 locations under that banner in Ontario.

    Metro operates nearly 600 food stores under such banners as Metro, Metro Plus, Super C, and Food Basics, in addition to over 250 pharmacies under the Brunet, Clini Plus, The Pharmacy and Drug Basics banners.

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