Tech will change jobs, Loblaw says as it plans to invest in future ready workers

Grocers transforming themselves to adapt to shifting consumer demands
A man leaves a Loblaws store in Toronto on Thursday, May 3, 2018. Canadian grocers doubled down on transforming themselves into destinations for time-strapped shoppers this year, ramping up delivery options, acquiring meal kit companies and adding in-store eateries. Shifting consumer demands and tech titan Amazon's recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market are pressuring grocers to evolve, yet experts say it's only the beginning of a transformation in how Canadians shop for food.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Loblaw Companies Ltd. says technology will change the nature of work in the future, so it’s investing not only in things like self-serve checkouts, but also retraining its workforce.

Loblaw president Sarah Davis says artificial intelligence and automation will change what people do in the company’s offices, distribution centres and stores.

She says the company is developing a future-ready workforce by making available online training programs in recent months and is planning to spend more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the next five years in an effort to make workers ready for upcoming changes.

Davis says the company has created more than 1,000 roles in its digital business.

The company is also investing in technology as it adds self-serve checkouts and electronic shelf labels to stores, as well as growing its e-commerce business.

She made her comments at the company’s annual general meeting of shareholders in Toronto Thursday morning.