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Jul 24, 2009 04:54 AM

Loblaws is acquiring T&T

Man, this kind of sucks. T&T is well run, good prices, etc. Loblaws is going to ruin that.

Loblaw to acquire T&T Supermarket, Canada's largest Asian food retailer
T&T to operate as separate division of Loblaw

BRAMPTON, ON, July 24 /CNW/ - Loblaw Companies Limited ("Loblaw") (TSX:
L) today announced that the shareholders of T&T Supermarket Inc. ("T&T") have
entered into an agreement with Loblaws Inc., a subsidiary of Loblaw, for the
purchase of all the common shares of T&T Supermarket, Canada's largest Asian
food retailer. The purchase price will be $225 million, with certain
adjustments to be made at closing. $191 million of the purchase price will be
funded by cash and the remaining through preferred shares issued by T&T, the
value of which will be tied to the future performance of the business.
"We are delighted with this acquisition", said Galen G. Weston, Executive
Chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited. "T&T's talented management team and
colleagues have developed what we believe are the best Asian stores in Canada,
which will be used to help Loblaw extend its ethnic offering to better serve
Canada's largest growing customer segment."
T&T Supermarket began operations in 1993 and now operates 17 stores in
the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario and four distribution
centres, three in Vancouver and the other in Toronto. T&T Supermarket offers a
robust Asian food offering with emphasis on fresh and ready to consume meals.
"Some of our customers have a nickname for us - The Asian Loblaw. Today
we are proud it has become a reality", said Cindy Lee, CEO of T&T Supermarket
Inc. "This acquisition recognizes all of our employees' hard work over the
years and the great business we have built. Together with Loblaw, we will
continue to celebrate our authenticity while maintaining and enhancing our
customers' shopping experience. With the strong backing of Loblaw and the
commitment of our employees, we look forward to continued growth and
effectively serving Asian food to even more families across Canada."

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  1. Probably the smartest thing the Weston twerp will ever do.

    1 Reply
    1. There goes the great selection of Asian products. How long before we see bland house brands like "Memories of......." or "Blue Menu Geoduck burgers" squeezing out the real thing? Wonder about the fresh sea food too...not good news for the consumer.

      3 Replies
      1. re: tuttebene

        This will be quite a challenge for Loblaw's, but they have managed to homogenize Zehr's, Fortino's, and Ziggy's, and they'll do it with T&T as well.
        As the OP says, " this kind of sucks".

        1. re: jayt90

          This report by the usually reliable Marina Strauss indicates that T&T will be run as a separate division.

          One comment on the Globe's page is interesting: "why would the competition bureau allow this?"
          Hopefully the Competition Bureau will publish their position on this acquisition.

        2. Wicked suckage. Hopefully this will convince people to shop instead at the smaller markets in Chinatown, which deserve your business more.

          14 Replies
          1. re: vorpal

            Thanks for the crap news, grandgourmand. Agree with the others that this bodes suckily.

            Meanwhile, which Chinatown shops do you recommend, vorpal? I do some of my shopping in Chinatown, but I have to admit that a lot of the fish counters leave me a little squidgy. Is there anyplace you'd recommend as a suitable alternative to T&T?

            1. re: vorpal

              maybe its me, but i trust T&T produce more than i trust little Chinatown produce.
              never understood why there are 3 bins of red peppers.
              1 bin is $2.99/lb
              2nd bin is $1.99/lb
              3rd bin is $0.99/lb

              like, is there something i should know?

              1. re: vorpal

                I'm all for supporting smaller enterprise, but I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that the smaller shops deserve my business. Aside from the iffy quality control in some places, you also have to consider how their employees are treated. I'm assuming they don't offer RRSP matching or health benefits in many cases.

                1. re: grandgourmand


                  Just to play devil's advocate, perhaps it will mean a bigger foot print for T&T and not a signal that the end is near.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    Sorry but T&T appealed largely because it wasn't a malodorous dump. There's nothing preferable, authentic, or smarter about buying from Spadina/Dundas shops where quality and labour law compliance are afterthoughts. All that changed forever once the Chinese community shifted NE in the 80s. Places like H&H and Yuan Ming in Mississauga, both slipping badly, won't survive against more, bigger, better T&T outlets.

                    1. re: Kagemusha

                      Exactly. Speaking as an asian myself. I stay far far away from Chinatown because quality is not the priority down there. Chinese business will cut corners wherever they can to make a buck. T&T was truly revolutionary in bringing modern standards to chinese grocers. Look at all the copy cats that have sprung up since they came to town. Remember the stench filled Big Land markets that used to be the "leader"?

                      1. re: sbug206

                        Agree 100%. The closest Asian supemarket to me is T. Phat in Pickering... we went 3 days after they opened and it was already disgusting. Rotten seafood smell, sticky grimy floors... ugh. We go to T&T despite the drive to avoid the stink.

                        Because the independents are so weak, Loblaws can make a mint if they just keep T&T "business as usual", but you know they won't. Expect to see them rebranded as "Loblaws Asian Superstore" :-)

                        1. re: TexSquared

                          The best thing for them to do would be to keep T&T as is, but pool their general mercandise (i.e. western stuff) purchases to take advantage of Loblaws purchasing power. And then roll-out the T&T franchise under the same banner. They haven't re-branded Zehrs, Fortino's, etc. Just added PC products (and Loblaws poor inventory management).

                          I wonder if we'll see T&T stock Memories of Shanghai...that would be funny.

                          1. re: grandgourmand

                            The Zehr's I visit (rarely) in Strathroy is a dead ringer for any modern Loblaw store. The original Zehr in KW used to buy everything he could get from local Mennonite farms. Loblaw changed that, and has a record of changing or eliminating stores they buy.

                            1. re: jayt90

                              Yeah, OG Zehr's stores were the best. They made incredible doughnuts :-) Not anymore, though

                        2. re: sbug206

                          Well, T&T doesn't sell turtle meat cut to order from a living beast as Big Land once did. Does that mean less really fresh food, or does that mean thank heavens...

                          1. re: embee

                            Mmm... soft-shelled turtle.

                      2. re: grandgourmand

                        I wonder how long it will take before the NFCW starts their T&T organizing campaign?

                    2. Its not terribly surprising given that in recent months, Loblaws has been printing many in store Asian fliers, guaranteed to help test their market to see responses, not withstanding the ever growing Asian population in Ontario.

                      Either way, I will still stick to the Sunny Market (Asian market) owned by Asians, run by Asians, with consistently high quality produce.

                      1. gasp! oh this totally sucks!!!

                        i LOVE going to T&T ... CLEAN, good quality, no funky smells and always well stocked. and now loblaws has to ruin it?? let's hope T&T doesn't inherit the same supply chain issues as loblaws ... :(

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lilaki

                          If Loblaw has $225 million at its disposal, perhaps it would be better spent on renovating their (older) stores, introducing better products, and lowering the prices of the products they do carry in their own stores. Just a thought.

                          Oh, and why not spend the $225 million on the Supercentre that was promised in Maple Leaf Gardens?