George Weston became Canada's biggest retail group in 2014 as a result of the merger of its main part-public subsidiary Loblaws supermarkets with pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart. Loblaw was already Canada's biggest supermarket retailer, with more than 1,050 owned or franchised stores under the Loblaw brand or local discounter banners including No Frills, Provigo and others. The group's private label range President's Choice (or "PC") is one of Canada's best-known brands cvovering everything from foods to household goods, home & garden products, financial services and insurance. Other own label brands include value-priced No Name and fashion label Joe Fresh. In 2013, Loblaw agreed to acquire leading pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart. That deal added more than 1,300 Shoppers and Pharmaprix drugstores across Canada as well as a number of branded healthcare clinics and private label health and wellness brand Life. Separately, Weston is also one of Canada's largest bakery businesses with brands including Wonder Bread, D'Italiano and Country Harvest; it also owns US bakeries Interbake and Maplehurst. The group is controlled by the Weston family, who also have extensive interests in the UK, including food and fashion giant Associated British Foods and upmarket retailers Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason. Weston's combined sales in 2017 were C$48.3bn. Galen G Weston is chairman & CEO. His great-grandfather George Weston opened a bakery business in Toronto in 1882, laying the foundations for the widespread global empire established by his son Garfield Weston. TP Loblaw opened his first Loblaw Groceteria in Toronto in 1919, and had 150 stores by the time of his death in 1933. Garfield Weston acquired a controlling stake in the 1950s.
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Capsule checked 26th June 2018
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Jul 2013: In Canada, leading supermarket group Loblaw acquired the country's biggest pharmacy retailer Shoppers Drug Mart for around $11.9bn. The resulting company becomes Canada's biggest business by revenues with sales in excess of $42bn and more than 2,240 stores nationwide. The Canadian media was almost unanimously positive about the move, which creates a strong national champion to counter the relentless expansion of Walmart, Costco, Target and other US invaders. Last month, Loblaw's main homegrown rival Sobey's snapped up the US operations of Safeway for $5.8bn. Loblaw is controlled by the enterprising Weston family, whose various other interests include George Weston Foods of Canada, the UK's Associated British Foods and its fashion retail subsidiary Primark, as well as upscale department stores Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.
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