loblaws boycott

Loblaws shares hit record high amid Canada-wide boycott

Tens of thousands of Canadians may be proudly taking part in a boycott of Loblaws-owned stores this month in an effort to get the grocer to lower its prices (among other things), but it doesn't seem that the action has had any impact on the brand's shares.

Figures shared to X this week by food researcher Sylvain Charlebois — who some consider to have ties with Loblaw Companies Ltd. — show how, in the Dalhousie University food distribution professor's words, "the market doesn't care" about consumer criticisms of the company's practices.

"Loblaw shares closed at an all-time high today," Charlebois wrote on May 3, sharing a screengrab of the supermarket giant's stock performance over time and quoting an older post in which he claimed "the Loblaw boycott is not real."

A quick Google search does show that the publicly traded stock is at an all-time high price of $155.48 as of May 6 after a steady rise from a five-year low of $62.58 in February of 2021.

While Charlebois, whose past research has benefited from Weston Foundation grants (yes, the Westons behind Loblaw), has his fair share of online supporters, many have chimed in to say that it feels too early on in the month to be able to tell if the consumer demonstration is having any effect on things.

Many also pointed out that sharing the high share value of the company actually serves as proof of why a boycott is needed.

As one person aptly wrote, "'Loblaw shares at an all-time high' is not the flex you think it is when you're trying to convince people that Loblaw isn't profit-gouging its customers…"

Others stated that Charlebois having to address the boycott so much in recent days shows that it is doing something — that people are talking about it, and about food price inflation in general.

"If people are talking about it, this means it starts to make some impact. Otherwise why even bother to mention it," one person replied.

Among hundreds of responses, some admitted that this boycott may not be as effective as hoped and that "Loblaws will continue to get richer."

But, the fact that this is because of the power that Loblaws holds over the nation's grocery sector and beyond does prove the point of why action from consumers and the government in this matter is needed in the first place.

According to its latest financials, the conglomerate earned $13.58 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year (up from $13 billion in Q1 2023), while profits increased 9.8 per cent year-over-year to $459 million. Shareholders were paid out 15 per cent more in dividends than the same time last year as a result.

Lead photo by

Loblaw Companies Ltd./Facebook

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