Grocery retailer Metro Inc. (MRU-T) says it will invest $420 million over five years to build a new, automated distribution centre for fresh and frozen products near Montreal, and expand its produce and dairy products distribution centre in Laval.
This is in addition to the company’s announcement in fall 2019 it has commenced construction of a $400-million development to modernize its Ontario distribution network, based in Toronto.
The new 600,000-square-foot Quebec distribution centre, which will be located just north of Montreal in Terrebonne, is scheduled to open in 2023, while the expansion of the Laval distribution centre is to be completed in 2024.
“Our new distribution centre of more than 600,000 square feet in Terrebonne will feature state of the art technologies, allowing us to make significant efficiency gains,” said Eric La Flèche, president and chief executive officer of Metro, in a release Wednesday morning.
“We will improve service to our store network with increased accuracy and reduced handling time, in both the distribution centres and the stores.
“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 workers to move to new site
Metro says it has signed an agreement with Witron, a company based in Germany which specializes in food distribution automation. Metro is already working with Witron on its Ontario development.
Employees at Metro’s existing meat and frozen food distribution centre in Montreal North, and the fish and seafood distribution centre in Rivière-des-Prairies/Pointe-aux-Trembles will be transferred to the new distribution centre in Terrebonne.
The existing produce and dairy products distribution centre in Laval will be expanded by 50,000 square feet to handle an increased volume of fruits and vegetables. Dairy products will then be distributed from the new Terrebonne facility.
Projected volume growth, combined with the integration of volumes currently distributed by other companies, will allow Metro to maintain stable employment levels in Quebec, the company says.
Metro plans to work with its employees and the unions involved to facilitate the transition, including implementing additional training programs.
“This $420-million investment in Quebec is in addition to the $400-million investment in Ontario announced in October 2017 for the modernization of our Toronto distribution centres,” La Flèche said in the release.
“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.”
New Toronto distribution centre
Metro’s existing distribution centre in Toronto will be replaced as part of a multi-phased project which got underway in September. Metro has secured adjacent three plots of land along Vickers Road in Etobicoke.
The 700,000-square-foot facility, when completed, will comprise a ground-floor distribution centre and mezzanine with administrative offices.
The project includes a new fresh and frozen foods facilities, both with state-of-the-art technology designed to improve product assortment, freshness, accuracy in the selection process and improved service.
Construction is to continue through 2023 and is phased to allow existing facilities to continue to operate through the transitions.
About METRO Inc.
With annual sales of more than $16 billion, Metro Inc. is a food and pharmacy leader in Quebec and Ontario.
As a retailer, franchisor, distributor, and manufacturer, the company operates or services a network of some 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’s operations employ almost 90,000.