When Shoppers Drug Mart was taken over by Loblaw Companies Limited thereby expanding the available product range to include a greater variety of fresh produce, many consumers welcomed the move. Research published in the Journal of Marketing Research showed that there is a trend towards choosing smaller outlets rather than large hypermarkets among shoppers.
However, as far back as 2007, the Canadian Capitalist reported that cracks were starting to show in Loblaws with stores selling items that were past their sell by dates and empty shelves as supply chain woes saw many stores running out of necessities. Loblaw stocks hit rock-bottom and business confidence in the Loblaw’s group was at an all-time low. Bearing this in mind, it seems surprising that Loblaw’s would take on a new chain of stores when existing stores were in difficulty. However, they forged ahead with the Shoppers Drug Mart deal and initial results were promising.
Shoppers Drug Mart has long been known for stocking salted and unsalted butter at very reasonable prices – far less than one would expect to pay at a regular supermarket and butter became one of the reasons why people shopped at Shoppers Drug Mart. The ‘Everyday’ brand soared to popularity, but is now set to be removed from the shelves in favour of ‘No-Name’ brand butter.
The new no-name brand butter is attracting criticism from shoppers who complain of its taste as well as its texture. Irate consumers feel that the no name brand offered by Loblaw’s is not living up to the quality they expected from ‘Everyday’ butter and since many shoppers choose Shoppers Drug Mart thanks to low prices on eggs, butter and milk, there can be no doubt that quality issues will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
An angry consumer said: ‘I’m not sure if No-Name butter even qualifies as “food”. I would prefer to use it as a temporary paper weight or perhaps for an industrial use that I have not thought of yet.’ The consumer alleged that the butter tasted like ‘petroleum jelly’ and it seems likely that further complaints will be made public soon as consumers mourn the loss of their cheap ‘Everyday’ brand.
At time of writing, Loblaws had not yet commented regarding the ‘horrible butter’ complaint, but it is to be hoped that ‘Everyday’ butter will be re-introduced owing to the popularity of this line as a draw card for Shoppers Drug Mart.
According to complaintboard.com the primary complaints about Shoppers Drug Mart relate to poor service and rudeness, and there are allegations of racist treatment of clients and employees. Reviewstalk.com mirrored these results with the majority of complaints being based on allegations of rudeness and poor client service.
Any store relies on its quality and service reputation in order to keep consumers coming back for more, and it would seem that Loblaw’s will need to do some damage control around the image of Shoppers Drug Mart , its customer service and the availability of favourite brands if they would like to maintain the growth in turnover reported at the end of the last quarter.
The ‘horrible butter’ fiasco may yet do severe damage to the survival of Shoppers Drug Mart if it is not addressed speedily.