Recently, George Weston (TSX:WN) celebrated a milestone in the company’s transformation, as it completed the first full year of direct ownership in Choice Properties. With three strategic, complementary businesses in retail, real estate, and consumer goods, there exists significant long-term opportunities for George Weston’s group of companies and the essential role that the businesses play in Canada’s communities.
Supporting employees, customers, and tenants
As the current COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, George Weston’s essential businesses came into focus. Each of George Weston’s businesses rose to the challenges of the past year while supporting employees, customers, and tenants.
Harnessing new technologies to meet a step-change in e-commerce demand
Loblaw helped millions of Canadians stay fed and well while keeping both customers and colleagues safe through enhanced safety practices. At the same time, Loblaw harnessed new technologies to meet a step-change in e-commerce demand and brought healthcare to patients via virtual platforms.
Ensuring the safety of tenants at properties
Choice Properties quickly rolled out additional security, sanitation, and social-distancing measures to ensure the safety of tenants at properties, many of which house the essential bakeries, warehouses, supermarkets, and pharmacies that George Weston continued to operate across the group. Weston Foods kept bakery shelves stocked in stores and quick-service restaurants as demand spiked. Assortments were adjusted in real time to reduce line changes, drive efficiency, and get customers essential products.
Working under extraordinary circumstances over the last year
All of these measures were in response to challenges presented by the pandemic, and George Weston’s success was the direct result of the remarkable people who worked across the company’s group under extraordinary circumstances over the last year. Overall, the current pandemic will no doubt continue to shape how the company’s businesses operate.
Many strengths underpin the company’s group
But with every challenge George Weston has overcome during the past year, George Weston has further revealed the many strengths that underpin the company’s group. Loblaw’s core business is strong, and the company’s growth strategies have been accelerated through a threefold increase in e-commerce, the launch of PC Health, and the rapid uptake of PC Money account. Choice Properties continues to be positioned to deliver income stability and long-term growth while further improving the quality of the company’s portfolio.
Focused on a return to top-line growth driven by strategic areas
Finally, Weston Foods remains focused on a return to top-line growth driven by strategic areas, such as artisan and donuts, and is supported by on-going operational improvements. Since well before the current pandemic, executive management at George Weston appears to have always believed in the importance of owning market-leading businesses that serve Canada’s communities. 2020 simply appears to have reinforced George Weston’s conviction that, in doing so, the company will create value over the long term.
Bright future outlook
Overall, George Weston appears to be a great stock to own over the long term. The company’s businesses are strong and durable and have a competitive advantage. This should help the company outperform the general market over the long term with less risk and volatility.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.
The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Fool contributor Nikhil Kumar has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.