The acquisition included associated convenience kiosks adjacent to Loblaw-owned grocery stores across the country.
“About a year ago in August of 2017, we branded the initial four locations. We applied the Mobil brand treatment and began selling the Synergy fuel which is a fuel that has our proprietary additive in it that helps improve fuel economy and performance,” said Cote.
“Since that time we’ve been re-branding the sites and we expect to have all of them done by the end of this year.”
He said the stores are in every province with the exception of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. There are more in Western Canada but the footprint is national.
“They’re located where you would typically find large Loblaw locations that can accommodate a fuel site – where Loblaw historically found it attractive to put a fuel offer in,” said Cote. “Loblaw had started putting them in in the 1980s.
“To be clear, the sites are owned by Brookfield . . . and the initial value we’re bringing to it is we’re bringing the value of the Mobil brand. The Mobil brand is a brand that stands for kind of innovation, product quality, technology leadership. It’s very visible in motor racing. And there’s 10,000 Mobil branded stations globally. We’re excited to bring that brand to Canada.”
He said Mobil branded stations are alluring and more appealing to customers to draw them to the places of business.
Cote said Mobil has been in Canada for awhile on the lubricant side of the business and has a strong presence in that area.
But from the retail fuel perspective, this is the entry of the brand into the market.
“The brand will be made available to dealers. We do have intentions of seeing the brand grow both on Loblaw property and off Loblaw property,” said Cote. “That’s part of the reason we introduced the brand. It enables Imperial to grow. And we see the Esso and the Mobil brands as being highly complementary. We would expect to see substantial growth both on and off Loblaw property over time.”
The brand has instant global recognition for a number of reasons including its affiliation with Formula One auto racing. It also has relationships with car manufacturers such as Porsche.
“In the minds of consumers some of the things we hear are it’s perceived as a global brand. It’s perceived as a brand that stands for technology leadership. And for us to enter the market in this way it kind of bolsters that view of Imperial being innovative in the way it goes to market. Those are some of the things that consumers have told us about that brand,” added Cote.