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'It's got to make some kind of change': Boycott of Loblaws-owned stores begins

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For the next month, thousands of shoppers from across the country plan to get their groceries anywhere other than Loblaws-owned stores (which include the Superstore, No Frills, and Shoppers Drug Mart). The move is an attempt to get the box chain to lower its prices, as frustration grows over the high price of food.

The idea started as an online push on Reddit and has gained over 60,000 members.

While the true number of people participating in the boycott isn’t known, the page is filled with shoppers claiming they won’t be visiting Loblaws stores any time soon. Support for the idea appears to be growing each day.

“I’m all for it,” says June Melanson, who was just finishing some shopping.

“If people can’t afford the stuff they have to do something right? So if they are all coming together, especially as a collective, you know it’s got to make some kind of change.”

“I certainly will be looking at maybe if I can get my groceries at other places to support it,” says Brenda Keenan.

“Just so Loblaws gets the message that how can Giant Tiger charge $1.47 for celery and they want $5.97.”

Fellow shopper Andrew Finlay is supportive of the idea, but isn’t sure the boycott will be effective.

“I mean its great in theory,” says Finlay.

“Their executives seem to be paid pretty well, and I don’t think they care what the average person thinks.”

Daniel Cullen is the owner of Dans Country Market in Saint John, N.B. Since word of the boycott began, he says more shoppers have come through his door.

“Every week we are busier,” says Cullen.

He says most customers come to his store first to get what they can, before heading to the bigger box stores to fill any gaps in their basket. He doesn’t understand why the big box stores are charging the prices they are.

“They have bigger buying power,” says Cullen.

“I am just the little guy but I am still selling chicken seven, eight dollars a kilogram less then what they are selling it for, the same chicken from the same plant.”

Dalhousie University Agri-Food Analytics lab director Sylvain Charlebois says Loblaws is partially to blame for the high prices, but consumers’ anger should be directed elsewhere.

“It’s not about the consumer in the store, it’s about the supply chain,” says Charlebois.

“The supply chain bullying happening between Loblaw, Walmart, and suppliers, that is really the problem, and it needs to be fixed.”

“As a business, we are acutely aware of the fact that we have to win our customers’ business each and every day. The last few years have been tough for Canadians, and we continue to do what we can to combat inflation at our stores,” said Dave Bauer, director of media relations for Loblaws, in a statement to CTV News Atlantic.

“Customers are noticing, with more visiting in our stores and many commenting in the same Reddit groups, that they’re getting real value at our stores, often the best across the industry. That won’t change – we’re going to keep working hard to deliver on our commitment to value and to rebuild the trust grocers have enjoyed for more than 100 years.”

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