Fast-growing Canadian grocer Loblaw Companies Limited has named a new president and CEO.
Per Bank, the outgoing CEO of Salling Group A/S, the largest retailer in Denmark, will formally join the $56 billion grocery retailer by the first quarter of fiscal 2024, the company announced.
"Over the past two years, we have strengthened the foundations of the company. Our management team is exceptional, and our 220,000 colleagues continue to deliver for our customers every day," said Galen G. Weston. "In Per we have found a world-class retail executive to help us build from that position of leadership and strength, and to continue on that journey."
Bank is a 30-year career retailer with deep expertise in retail operations and supply chain. At Salling Group A/S he led 1,700 multi-banner supermarkets across three countries, supported by strong e-commerce, loyalty and private-brand programs, and having one of Denmark's largest private-sector workforces.
Bank will be responsible for Loblaw's day-to-day operations, and he will report to Loblaw's Board of Directors. Galen G. Weston will remain Chair of the Loblaw Board of Directors, as well as Chair of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of parent company, George Weston Limited – where he will play an active role setting the strategy for the group.
Richard Dufresne will continue as Loblaw's Chief Financial Officer and President and Chief Financial Officer of George Weston Limited. Robert Sawyer will remain as Chief Operating Officer until the end of the year, helping to deliver Loblaw's 2023 plan while setting up a successful transition for Bank.
"Robert, Richard and I have worked side by side with our management teams to improve Loblaw's performance. Per is an exceptional executive with a decades-long track record of delivering retail excellence and successful growth – enabling a smooth transition for our teams," said Weston. "Coming from Salling, he arrives with a clear understanding of what it means to lead a nation's largest retail network and team, and a family company established more than a century ago to help Canadians live life well."
The announcement comes a few days after Loblaw said it plans to invest more than $2 billion dollars into the Canadian economy in 2023. The company plans to open 38 new stores and remodel nearly 600 others.
"Loblaw is admired worldwide for its sound values, long history of innovation, and the strong execution that has made the company what it is today," said Bank. "I am truly excited to join the team and build on the ongoing success of my future colleagues."
Over the past five years, Loblaw’s capital investments have evolved with the grocery landscape, driven by digital innovation and technology. This year, it will increase its investment level focusing on its core retail experience, expanding its presence in communities, modernizing its supply chain, and making food and healthcare more accessible.
Highlights of Loblaw’s capital investments in 2023 include new discount-format supermarkets in underserved communities, an increase in pharmacist-led health clinics, hundreds of carbon reduction initiatives across its business, and continued development of a modern distribution center in the Greater Toronto Area.
In February Loblaw said its Q4 revenue was up 9.8% to CAD$14 billion. Retail segment sales rose 9.7% to CAD$13.7 billion. Food retail same-stores sales increased by 8.4%, while drug retail same-store sales increased by 8.7%, with front store same-store sales growth of 11.5% and pharmacy same-store sales growth of 5.4%.
Loblaw Cos. Ltd. operates nearly 2,500 stores and national e-commerce options in Canada, with more than 190,000 full- and part-time employees. The Brampton, Ontario-based company is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.