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Dow Jones reports that Loblaw Cos. will open its first Real Canadian Superstores in the province of Ontario during the fourth quarter this year, with plans to open as many as a half dozen of the units there in the near future.

Until now, Loblaw has only used the format in western Canada. However, Wal-Mart's expansion plans in Canada, as well as an expectation that eventually it will bring its supercenter format to the country, has energized Loblaw to make a pre-emptive move.

The Real Canadian Superstores generally are about 140,000 sq. ft. and have a combination of food and nonfood. By agreement with the unions, they will be staffed by a combination of union and non-union personnel, which Loblaw believes will make it more competitive with the assiduously non-union Wal-Mart. And, in Ontario, Loblaw is expected to modify the offering somewhat, keeping the look of traditional Loblaw stores and including departments not offered in western Canada units.
KC's View:
Smart move. We like aggressive offense, and think it makes a whole lot more sense that just playing defense.