Metro Inc. Goes National

Metro Inc. (TSX: MRU-A), a supermarket chain based out of Montreal was in the news quite a bit back inthe fall. The company, which until recently operated under a variety of different names across the country, decided to streamline its so-called “conventional” chains at the end of 2008.  This means that familiar names like Dominion, A&P and Loeb would all be replaced with Metro.  The change happened fairly quickly as many of the stores were pretty much changed overnight.

The chain is the second largest in Quebec, behind only Loblaws.  Like Loblaws and its President’s Choice and No Name brands, Metro, too has its own private labels.  These include Selection and Super C, which were created by the company itself, as well as Euality and Master’s Choice, created by A&P Canada (and absorbed by Metro upon its acquisition).

Like many other major grocery store chains, Metro has, especially in the past few years, increased its selection of prepared foods, with salads, pastas and other choices for those on the go.  However, choice is still not as big as Loblaws, Whole Foods or Longo’s.  In addition, Metro seems to stick with the old “supermarket” model, while some of its competition, such as Loblaws, has gone full out “lifestyle,” with many stores going beyond just groceries and toiletries.  Some even offer financial and health services, sell  its line of clothing as well as offer training classes.  Of course, there are different schools of thought on these “lifestyle” stores – some feel that the stores are trying too many different things, therefore not only confusing its customers, but also never becoming known for being good at anything.  However, this will be up to the customers to decide.

On Tuesday, March 17, Metro Inc. opened at 39.55  and closed at 39.37.  Its 52-week highs and lows were 39.55 and 38.50.