Loblaw expanding online grocery business across Canada and hiking quarterly dividend

Loblaw Companies Ltd. has announced plans to expand its grocery pickup and delivery services across the country this year.

The company plans to add home delivery to five more markets this year, including Montreal, Halifax and Regina.

Late last year, the company partnered with California-based Instacart to launch home delivery in two Canadian cities. It is currently available in 11 markets, including Toronto and Vancouver.

Loblaw also says it plans to expand its click-and-collect program, which allows customers to order groceries online and pick them up, with 500 new pickup sites this year. By the end of 2018, the retailer aims to have more than 700 pickup locations.

The announcement came as Loblaw raised its quarterly dividend to 29.5 cents per share from 27 cents per share and reported improved quarterly earnings.

Loblaw earned a profit attributable to common shareholders of $377 million or 98 cents per diluted share on $10.37 billion in revenue for the first quarter ended March 24. That compared with a profit of $232 million or 58 cents per share on $10.40 billion in revenue in the same quarter last year.

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