Canadian retailers struggle for business

TORONTO – Canadian retailers are struggling to fortify their defences against aggressively expanding US e-commerce operators in an effort to stave off further loss of market share and erosion of profit margins in a brutal retail market.

Moves over the past year include Hudson’s Bay Co’s $C60 million ($F97m) investment in robotic technology at a Toronto distribution center, and second-largest grocery chain Metro Inc’s $C400m ($F651m) investment to automate its warehouses.

Four of the top five firms in Canadian e-commerce are from the US, led by Inc and Wal-Mart Stores, according to a 2017 ranking of 45 retailers that operate in Canada done by digital analytics company Chasm.

In contrast, four of the bottom five are Canadian, including Empire Company’s Sobeys, grocery operator Loblaw Co Ltd and its pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart.

Metro declined to comment, while Empire did not respond to a request for comment.

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