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|Owner||Loblaw Companies Limited|
|Owner||Loblaw Companies Limited|
President's Choice (French: Le choix du Président) also known as “PC”, is a private label or store brand owned by Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada’s largest food retailer. As the company’s premium line, President’s Choice includes a wide variety of grocery and household products, in addition to financial services and mobile phones. While private labels have been associated with inferior or inconsistent quality, President’s Choice products are promoted as being equal to or better than name brands at more affordable prices. President’s Choice may also be considered a unity brand, available across the company’s various retail banners, which include Loblaws, Loblaw Great Food, Dominion, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Provigo, Extra Foods, Your Independent Grocer, Atlantic Superstore, Zehrs Markets and Fortinos. Many storefronts, in fact, now promote themselves, through secondary signage, as "The Home of President’s Choice". The brand has also been used as a general promotional device for products other than PC, with advertising that refers to "the people who bring you President’s Choice", rather than a corporate name or particular store banner.
The first President’s Choice products began appearing on Loblaw store shelves in 1984, but the concept was born somewhat by accident the year before as the company went to market with a new high quality ground coffee. Dave Nichol, president of Loblaws Supermarkets, was constantly on the lookout for new products to add to the company’s line-up of No Name generics and had even begun offering gourmet items in the familiar, unbranded yellow packaging. His Louisiana buyers had recently discovered a new high-grade coffee, around the time some of the leading national brands had downgraded the quality of their store coffee. Toronto designer Don Watt was asked to come up with packaging – the only stipulation being that it had to be yellow, the same as No Name. Watt recalled how President’s Blend Gourmet Coffee went on sale in time for Christmas:
It goes on the shelf and becomes the number-one selling item in the grocery section. And Nichol, who was always listening to the consumer, said, 'Well, I guess the consumer is telling us that we should be trading up. Why don't you take your President's Blend idea and figure out how to do a package? Because we've got a lot of yellow in the store, so the only comment I'm telling you is don't make it yellow.'
While Loblaw kept the "President’s Blend" label, the name was otherwise too product specific. Since the new line would be personally endorsed by Nichol, an associate suggested "President’s Choice" as a brand name that could be used across a wide range of items. According to Watt, “PC was chosen because it was the president’s 'choice'. It wasn’t necessarily the absolute best that you would find in a gourmet deli or something – it was the best value, the best quality, the best relative to the competition.” In fact, Dave Nichol’s association with the product line would extend to almost every aspect of marketing, including the President’s Choice logo, which was Nichol’s own handwriting.
In developing a line of store brand products, Loblaw looked to one of Great Britain’s leading merchandisers for inspiration. "Nichol remembered seeing how London retailer Marks & Spencer had featured its own brand, St. Michael, which was not only less expensive but also higher in quality than the leading brands." For Nichol, private labels represented not only a marketing opportunity, in addition to higher margins, but also a way of becoming less dependent on the big name national brands. “I started off running Loblaws like every other retailer in North America, which is getting people in the store by giving Coke and Tide away below cost.”
Loblaw, in fact, had a long history of offering in-house products. Founded by Toronto grocers Theodore Pringle Loblaw and J. Milton Cork in 1919, Loblaw Groceterias Co. Limited featured many of its own products, individually branded under a variety of labels such as Pride of Arabia Coffee and Jack & Jill Peanut Butter. While Loblaw Groceterias’ innovative self-serve format produced rapid growth throughout its early years, by the 1970s Loblaw Companies Limited was struggling to revitalize its operations and recapture market share. As newly appointed CEO, W. Galen Weston earmarked $40 million for product development. With a major corporate rebranding underway, Weston commented there was no point redesigning product packaging if the consumer found the quality inside, which had previously disappointed, no better than before.
Some of the first President’s Choice products included Belgian biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, and passion fruit sorbet. The advent of PC also coincided closely with the appearance of a new marketing tool called Dave Nichol’s Insider’s Report, first published in November 1983. Described as a cross between Mad magazine and Consumer Reports that combined “zaniness and food tips in a comic book format”, the newspaper supplement was a quirky, tongue-in-cheek product review modelled after a California supermarket flyer. As the popularity of President’s Choice grew, along with the number of products, the Insider’s Report became increasingly devoted to the promotion of the line.
With its cover shot of Nichol alongside Georgie Girl, his favourite French bulldog, Dave Nichol’s Insider’s Report was written in the first person, with Nichol telling his readers all about his latest food related finds and product quests. Often he would relate production development stories:
I approached technicians at one of Canada’s leading dairies and asked them to make a passion fruit sorbet for Loblaws that would be so good that I could put my name on it and proudly call it ‘President’s Choice’. They set to work; the first problem, of course, was to find enough passion fruit concentrate. A long and determined search produced five tons of concentrate in Brazil and we had it flown here to ensure that we’d meet our deadlines. After many batches were sampled, we finally came up with a product that I’m proud to put my name on.
Nichol and his product developers travelled extensively in search of new ideas. One such overseas excursion bought them to the boardroom of one of Europe’s leading biscuit makers:
During our visit to their plant in Belgium, we discovered that Delacre is the world’s largest producer of tinned assortments of premium biscuits. So then and there we put in the challenge to them: “Let’s create the best assortment of tinned biscuits in the world.” To accomplish this, Delacre laid all of its most costly biscuits on a table along with empty 1 kg tin. We then proceeded to fill it with a selection of your favourites – both dark and milk chocolate. Bichocs, cigarettes russes, etc., etc. When we were done the President of Delacre look at it and said, “This assortment has more chocolate than any of our other assortments – it’s definitely our best.”
Throughout the Insider’s Report, Nichol promoted President’s Choice as being as good as or better than the national brand and told his readers how he and his team were committed to developing products superior in quality and to sell them at substantially lower prices. “We are constantly amazed at how easy it is to do this; it seems that some companies have compromised the quality of their national brands to save a few pennies.” Nichol often drew direct comparisons to competitor’s products. In a November 1986 Insider’s Report, he pointed out that Butterball frozen turkeys didn’t contain any butter, only coconut oil margarine, while the President’s Choice Normandy-Style Butter-Basted Frozen Turkey had 3 percent real butter by weight. Nichol would also challenge consumers to come up with a product superior to President’s Choice. “We dare you to find a better Bar-B-Q Sauce anywhere, any place, anytime,” he wrote.
For Loblaw’s management, the sales strategy surrounding President’s Choice went beyond simply competing with the national brands. Just as important was the product line’s ability to draw customers into the stores. “Our intentions are very clear”, Nichol was once quoted. “We’re trying to create products that you can’t get anywhere else, so you’ll have to come to our stores.” The approach led to the development of an array of unique items such as President’s Choice Gourmet Italian Dog Foods, in addition to entire lines such as ‘The Decadent’ products or ‘Memories of’ sauces. And while not all successes originated with Nichol, many did:
Nichol had some stunningly creative ideas. When, for instance, he tasted a satay sauce at a restaurant at Bali, he put his staff to work replicating it, sending them back to the kitchen time and again until they got it right. The result, Memories of Szechwan Peanut Sauce & Dressing, has outsold ketchup in some Loblaw stores.”
Nichol, who was both a chocolate lover and a fan of cookies as a product category, decided that he wanted "the ultimate chocolate chip cookie". When it became known that another brand was trying to come up with a cookie that could successfully compete with PC's Chocolate Chip Cookies for the Connoisseur, Nichol decided he wanted a cookie that could sweep the category. Though there were concerns about how practical it was to introduce more natural ingredients, the decision was made to use real chocolate chips and real butter, instead of hydrogenated oil, typically used to ensure longer shelf life. But including more natural ingredients presented its own challenges, such as how to stop the chocolate chips from melting all over the production line. It took supplier Colonial Cookie of Kitchener, Ontario, more than a year to figure out the logistics and come up with a product that met Nichol's exacting standards. Colleague Jim White was the first to sample the prototype cookie:
When the first samples arrived, I asked Jim White to try them. "Are they good?" Jim’s eyes glazed over. They’re beyond good. They’re truly decadent." 
On its release, The Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie contained 39 percent chocolate chips by weight – more than double the leading national brand. It soon became the best selling President’s Choice product and within three years was Canada’s best selling cookie, even though it was available in only 20 percent of Canadian food stores.
Not all President’s Choice products were hits, though. Lucullan Delights, a vanilla crème sandwich cookie designed to compete with Oreos, was introduced a year before The Decadent. Nichol had come across a food critic’s reference to Lucullus, a 1st Century B.C. Roman senator famous for his lavish banquets, and decided he had to use the name. But sales proved slow as shoppers apparently struggled to make sense of the name, even with an explanatory note on the packaging. In 1992, the product was reformulated and re-launched, this time as the “Eat The Middle First” cookie, with a guarantee from Nichol that if you didn’t like them he’d give you a bag of Oreos for free. Sales subsequently rose.
In the spring of 1989, Loblaw introduced G.R.E.E.N, a new line of environmentally friendly and body friendly President’s Choice products – the first major North American company to offer a green product line. The items ranged from unbleached coffee filters to organic lawn and garden fertilizer. Nichol wrote in the June issue of the Insider’s Report how astounded he was at the level of public interest in such products. He explained how his team had met with many of executives of Canada’s leading environmental groups to ask them what sort of products they would like to see developed. But Nichol cautioned that not all organizations took the same approach and, as such, "we accept the fact that it is inevitable that not all environmental groups will agree with all our President’s Choice G.R.E.E.N products." In fact, the new line was soon criticized by a number of groups that included Greenpeace and the Consumers Association of Canada. Greenpeace took exception to G.R.E.E.N’s organic fertilizer, maintaining that it was not completely free of toxins. Meanwhile, the Consumers Association charged that some items were no different than products already found on store shelves. There was further controversy when the executive director of Pollution Probe, Colin Isaacs, went on television alongside Nichol to provide a qualified endorsement of non-chlorine bleached disposable diapers, saying that if you had to use disposables, these were the ones to buy. Isaacs soon resigned as other environmentalists objected to any endorsement of a throw-away product. While Nichol appeared on the defensive at times, he contended that events had actually helped promote G.R.E.E.N:
The real success of the green story is the enormous controversy it caused,” he says. "Within four weeks we had an 85% awareness level, and 27% of the people actually had bought the products." After a minute of reflection he adds, "Controversy is a wonderful thing."
Loblaw president Richard Currie pointed out that following the introduction of the line that there was a flood of 'green' products by other manufacturers to hit the market, apparently in response to the company initiative. A year after the launch, the number of G.R.E.E.N products had reached 100 with another 50 in the works, but product development eventually slowed. Nichol later lamented that it was so hard to find green products to bring to market.
By 1990, the number of President’s Choice products had reached 500. Meantime, Dave Nichol's Insider's Report, which according to an A.C. Neilson survey was read by 59 percent of Ontario households, had become almost exclusively devoted to the promotion of President’s Choice. The line now represented $1.5 billion in sales, or 20 percent of Loblaw's annual revenue.
Nevertheless, Nichol continued to pursue product categories where he felt PC could make further inroads. The lucrative cola market was one such area in which President’s Choice had experienced only limited success. In 1991, Nichol re-launched PC Cola, this time with a reformulated version of RC Cola, and sales jumped 71 percent. In Loblaw's pursuit of the national brands, PC Cola was re-packaged in red and white colours, similar to Coca Cola. Years later, the 2004 launch of PC New Wave Cola featured blue and white packaging, along with a "Join the New Wave Generation" ad campaign "calling all Pepsi Cola Fans" to switch brands. Nichol also pursued new product lines under President’s Choice. In November 1991, Too Good To Be True! was launched, made up of 50 healthy, low-fat products. Meanwhile, his "Dave Nichol’s Barbecue Secrets" video on outdoor cooking with PC products sold some 55,000 copies.
Throughout Nichol's association with President’s Choice, Loblaw relied heavily on the executive’s own palate when it came to product development. According to one newspaper report, "Dave’s taste buds decree major business decisions."  The Loblaw test kitchen was, in fact, situated next door to Nichol’s office in central Toronto where it served as crucible for product acceptance or rejection:
Nichol is stepping through his daily paces in Loblaw’s airy, white test kitchen. Seven product-development staff hover watchfully. He forks a small sample of what appears to be chilli with meat into his mouth. The room falls silent. He closes his eyes. He swallows. He nods his head. The tension breaks. Dave likes it.... This is market research, Dave Nichol style. No focus groups. No marketing surveys. If the president of Loblaw International Merchants, the product-development arm of Loblaw Companies Ltd., likes the taste, it’s in.
If an item met with Nichol’s approval, and merchandisers expressed interest, it could be brought to market in a few months. If, on the other hand, Nichol was unimpressed, that usually meant the end of the line for an item. "He could kill a product with a shrug of indifference, and there was no court of appeal." Most product ideas were rejected or sent back to suppliers for modification while others went through numerous reformulations before getting the go ahead. Meanwhile, Nichol seemed to relish his role as ultimate arbiter. "Nothing gets called President’s Choice without my approval," he once commented. "If you dislike any of them, then I’m the guy who has to take the blame."
In addition to product development, Nichol and associates paid close attention to packaging. Though Don Watt produced early version of PC packaging, others, such as Loblaw art director Russ Rudd, were responsible for the execution of many of the most successful designs. When it came to The Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie, Rudd lined up hundreds of cookies on a conference table and photographed the best looking ones. An enlargement of one of the cookies became the cover shot, with dozens of chocolate chips forming the background. Other times, unconventional stock photos were featured to represent the exotic and unique nature of the product. A fierce-looking Japanese Kabuki actor, in heavy theatrical make-up, became the cover for President's Choice Memories of Kobe line of products, while the penetrating eyes of a veiled woman, taken from a fashion shoot, became the iconic image for PC Memories of Ancient Damascus Pomegranate Sauce. Nichol apparently took some satisfaction in boldly using images that other food manufacturers would never consider for their product packaging.
While President’s Choice had become increasingly popular among Canadian consumers, the brand was still largely unknown in the United States. Those U.S. stores owned by Loblaw, in St. Louis, Missouri, and New Orleans, Louisiana, did not even carry the line. By the late 1980s, though, Don Watt, working on design contracts for a number of American supermarket chains, had become something of an "unofficial ambassador" for PC. Nichol, who regarded the American market as "a great opportunity". considered ‘going global’ the next logical step. He told of how international executives who toured Loblaw stores would ask whether the company’s private label program was for sale. But while Loblaw pitched PC as a higher margin alternative to the national brands, putting President’s Choice on the shelves of American retailers proved less than straightforward:
[Nichol] brought in a man named Tom Stephens to sign deals with regional grocers, like D'Agostino in New York and Jewel in Chicago. He told them a strong store brand would free them from the tyranny of manufacturers. Many American grocers scoffed at the idea, calling it "Canadian lunacy", Stephens remembers. "The stores that took President's Choice," he says over a plate of risotto at a quiet Toronto trattoria, "were either desperate or brilliant."
As President’s Choice began making inroads, Loblaw aired a series of prime time infomercials on television in Buffalo, New York, with Nichol and marketing executive Boris Polakow, in advance of the next issue of Dave Nichol’s Insider’s Report. In 1991, PC was available in only a handful of states  but a little more than two years later was on the shelves of some 1,200 stores in 34 states, due in large part to Wal-mart. President’s Choice had come to the attention of Sam Walton, founder of the Wal-mart chain of discount stores, through Don Watt. After a year of meetings, a deal was struck in which Loblaw agreed to develop a line of private label products under the Wal-mart brands Sam’s American Choice, later shortened to Sam’s Choice, and Great Value. Described as "a big coup for Nichol,"  items such as “Sam’s Cola” and “Sam’s Over 39% Chocolate Chip Cookies” made their debut in 1991. The Toronto Star later reported that cola and cookies sales had "gone through the roof." 
Loblaw also started making deals outside of North America. Holding a can of Australia's Choice Cola, Nichol appeared on the July 1993 cover of Canadian Business magazine, as Loblaw moved ahead with plans to market private labels for Coles Myer Limited – now Coles Group – Australia’s largest food retailer. Loblaw was also preparing to test market PC products on the shelves of ParknShop, Hong Kong’s second largest supermarket chain. Deals in the U.K., Sweden and South Africa were also in the works.
President's Choice also began pursuing opportunities beyond the traditional grocery store aisle. In 1992, PC Premium Draft beer went on sale at Brewers Retail outlets in Ontario. Launched only weeks before Christmas, supplier Lakeport Brewing assured Loblaw, based on historical data, that it had enough product in stores to last throughout the holiday season. Advertised as being "premium quality," yet value priced, the beer sold out before Christmas. Lakeport subsequently ran full page ads apologizing for the shortfall. For Nichol, the success of PC beer confirmed to him that he could sell almost anything under President’s Choice, as long as it represented better quality at a more affordable price:
If I sold you a PC tennis shoe, I think you would understand that I’m trying to give you a better tennis shoe at a lower price. The PC franchise is expandable in any number of directions.
Around this time, Nichol also made reference to a "brand tax revolt" on the part of consumers. He contended that PC was part of a larger phenomenon in which consumers were increasingly willing to slash away at traditional shopping habits in search for better value for their money.
In November 1993, Loblaw Companies Limited announced that Dave Nichol was leaving as president of Loblaw International Merchant, the company’s control label division, to establish his own business as a consultant. Loblaw confirmed that Nichol would remain spokesman for President’s Choice and said it looked forward to working with him. Meantime, Nichol dismissed suggestions that his leaving was anything less than amicable and said that Loblaw did everything to convince him to stay as a full-time employee, but said he felt somewhat constrained. Although he hosted one more issue of Dave Nichol’s Insider’s Report, six months later he was no longer associated with PC. Instead, he began promoting a number of Dave Nichol branded products as the new president of controlled brands at Cott Corp., a private label soft drink maker. Loblaw Companies Limited president Richard Currie said of the break that it was neither positive nor negative but “neutral” and that the business did not require a spokesman.
The Dave Nichol's Insider’s Report became The Insider's Report but looked much the same. In administrative terms, Loblaw International Merchants, in charge of PC product development, was merged with the company’s buying division, Intersave, to become Loblaw Brands Limited. Although Nichol’s departure received considerable news coverage, media reports indicated little or no negative impact on Loblaw:
Since Nichol’s departed, Loblaw's profits have shown double-digit growth in five of six quarters. Total Loblaw’s sales in Canada were up 8.4% in 1995. Company brand sales – chiefly President’s Choice – were up 18.5%, well ahead of the average gain of 11% recorded by A.C. Nielsen of Canada Ltd. for 550 store-brand product categories.
In the coming years, Loblaw continued to expand the number of President’s Choice products and extended the brand into new, service oriented areas. President’s Choice, as an upmarket private label, continued to provide Loblaw with a vehicle for attracting shoppers into its stores, along with better profit margins. But according to Richard Currie, the product line had other advantages too, that included added clout, in terms of pricing, right across the supermarket shelf:
Most supermarkets use private label to increase their margins. We use private label to sell national brands at a lower price. The happy combination is that we sell President’s Choice or No Name at a lower price than the national brand. We make more profit on the control label than we do on the national brand but our national brand is being sold at a lower price than the competitor’s... and we’re selling more national brands than any other company in Canada. What a terrific combination.
In 1998, Loblaw launched President's Choice Financial, promoted as a no fee alternative in personal banking. Press reports noted that "it’s the first time a major Canadian retailer has developed its own full-fledged banking services, which will be available to customers across the country within 18 months."  Along with free savings and chequing, PC Financial offered no fee in-store banking, free groceries through its ‘PC Points’ program, along with mortgage and loan services. Though branded exclusively as President’s Choice Financial, news stories noted that the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce acted as "service provider". By 2010, PC Financial had 2.5 million customers and $20 billion in managed funds. President’s Choice continued to add new products and lines. In 2001, PC Organics was introduced as a third party certified line of organic food products, in accordance with the guidelines of the National Standard of Canada on Organic Agriculture. A year later, PC Home unveiled a collection of new household accessories. In 2005, PC Blue Menu introduced a new line of healthy and convenient food items, which replaced the Too Good To Be True! line of products. PC Mini Chefs, a line of foods for kids, was added to the product line-up.
In October 2006, after a problematic corporate restructuring resulted in a string of losses, John Lederer resigned as president and Galen G. Weston assumed the new post of Executive Chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited. Within a year, Weston had taken on the role of spokesman for President’s Choice. In a series of television commercials, designed by Toronto advertising agency Bensimon Byrne, Weston appeared informally in shirt sleeves and, without reference to any corporate title, introduced himself simply as "Galen Weston." One of the first ads showed Weston promoting the new 99 cent PC GREEN reusable shopping bag, with the goal of reducing the number of plastic bags in Canadian landfill sites by a billion a year. Consumer response was strong with the bag almost selling out in its first week. Company figures later indicated that, along with a new 5 cent charge per plastic bag, the goal of reducing the number of disposable bags had exceeded the one billion mark. "The sell-out of our PC GREEN Reusable Bag confirms it — when retailers make it simple for consumers to do their part, they will embrace the opportunity." In commenting further on his new role as brand spokesman, Weston said he intended to focus on areas of personal concern, in particular the environment and healthier food products. Subsequent television commercials included PC organic baby food and the re-launched of the President’s Choice line of GREEN products.
From a glass walled test kitchen at its Brampton, Ontario, headquarters, Loblaw Companies Limited generates some 500 new food items a year, many of which become President's Choice products. And while suppliers regularly pitch new ideas, the company also undertakes its own research and development. "We try to be ahead of the market," noted Loblaw vice president Paul Uys. "Our radar screens are around the world."  Though Loblaw has retracted its private label program from the U.S. and international markets, President’s Choice and No Name still account for 25 percent of its domestic food sales, double the industry average. Loblaw vice president of food Pietro Satriano said the company’s control labels remain crucial to its overall strategy. "In the end, it drives people to our stores. It drives loyalty. People can’t get them anywhere else. It’s tough to quantify, but it’s crucial."  Currently, there are more than 2,000 President’s Choice products on Canadian supermarket shelves.
In Canada, PC products are generally sold only at Loblaw-owned or affiliated stores. One notable exception is President's Choice beer, which in Ontario is only available at The Beer Store due to provincial laws on the sale of alcohol (although it is also sold at Real Canadian Liquorstore locations in Alberta, where private liquor stores are permitted, and Loblaw-owned or -affiliated stores in Quebec, where supermarkets are allowed to sell beer and wine).
In addition to the main President's Choice line of products, the brand also features seven specialized product lines:
PC's food products include a variety of prepared foods (baby food, canned foods, soups, condiments, etc.), grain products (breads, cereals, grains, rice, etc.), dairy products (yogurt, cheese, etc.), frozen food (frozen desserts, entrees, meats, etc.), drinks (juice, soda, water, coffee, lemonade, tea and beer.); fresh foods (deli products, meat, poultry, fresh pasta, produce, seafood, etc.), and snacks (crackers, snack foods, chips, dips, and sauces).
Non-food items include pet food and supplies; baby products; bath and body care products; cleaning and household products; laundry supplies; miscellaneous goods; paper and office products; and a range of general merchandise.
President's Choice began appearing in various U.S. supermarkets beginning in the early 1990s. The product line found a home in the Chicago market on the shelves of Jewel stores  under an exclusive regional marketing agreement.
Modesto, California-based New Deal Market chain carried the President's Choice line for a short time under their ownership by Canada-based Provigo Corp.
Michigan-based Glen's Market carried the President's Choice line for a short time, beginning in the late 1990s through the early 2000s. Glen's Market offered special coupons and promotions on the item to create excitement about the new line being offered. One of the popular President's Choice promotions was to give a pint of ice cream on the birthdays of customers with registered Glen'sCard. Glen's Market is a wholly owned subsidiary of Spartan Stores, Inc. In addition, D&W Food Centers carried the President's Choice brand for several years before being purchased by Spartan Stores, Inc.
Michigan-based Great Scott! supermarkets carried the President's Choice line before being acquired by Kroger in 1990. Kroger then sold President's Choice products in its Michigan stores for a short time after the acquisition of Great Scott! (presumably until a contract to carry the product expired).
During the 1990s, Stop & Shop supermarkets of Quincy, Massachusetts also carried the PC line of products, as did Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Star Market before it was acquired by Shaw's Supermarkets in 1999. Shaw's ceased carrying President's Choice products in its Star-branded stores following the acquisition, despite the PC line being carried by its parent's Jewel stores.
Portland, Oregon-based Fred Meyer stores also carried the President's Choice brand for a time.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Harris Teeter carried the brand in the early 1990s.
St. Louis based National Supermarkets, then owned by Loblaw, rolled out the brand along with other Loblaw-owned chains. This continued until the chain was purchased by competitor Schnucks in 1995. Schnucks continued selling the brand until 1998.
President's Choice was also carried by Bell's Markets in western New York, when they were supplied by a company affiliated with Loblaw. They were later carried by Tops Friendly Markets in that area but can no longer be found there.
Loblaw Companies no longer exports the products outside Canada or the U.S.