Originating in Western Canada in the late 1970s/early 1980s, the banner expanded into Ontario in the early 2000s as Loblaw attempts to fend off competition from department stores including U.S.-based Walmart.
Loblaw has tested alternative banners at some locations in Ontario, with some labelled as “Loblaw Superstore“, and a few others as simply “Superstore”; for a time this was reflected in the chain’s marketing which used a separate logo to advertise all of these banners. The company has since reverted to marketing the entire chain as Real Canadian Superstore, although some locations might retain other signage.
The stores carry a variety of goods, but the vast majority of space is devoted to groceries and about a third of each store is set aside for electronics, housewares, and clothing. Items in the latter two categories are mainly from Loblaw’s private labels, such as President’s Choice, Life at Home, or Joe Fresh. As with many Loblaw stores, they offer corporate-branded services such as PhotoLab photo finishing and DrugStore pharmacies. Many outlets also boast a GoodLife Fitness club, drive-through pharmacies, gas bars, photo studios, community rooms, as well as walk-in medical clinics managed by Primacy Medical.
Loblaws is working to cut costs and compete effectively with this multi-format store. Each store has a similar layout, useful for both cost efficiency and shopper ease. Also, in an effort to cater to individual customer segments, Superstore buys specific products for different regions. Superstore locations now top 20,000 square metres (220,000 sq ft).
In the west, Superstores are operated by Loblaw subsidiary Westfair Foods Ltd. Ontario stores are operated as part of Loblaw’s other banners, including Loblaws and Zehrs, although Superstore is considered a separate chain, and prices at one chain may not apply at the other. Loblaw is centralizing its head office operations, which includes the relocation of the General Merchandise personnel from Calgary, Alberta to Brampton, Ontario to consolidate operations.
In Alberta, where private liquor retailing is permitted, a chain of 30 Real Canadian Liquorstores operate, mostly near Real Canadian Superstores in that province.
Employees of Loblaws and the Real Canadian Superstore are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union.