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Joe Fresh Launches International Expansion in 23 Countries with Signing of 3 Partnership Agreements

First Move Beyond North America Will Bring Joe Fresh Fashions to the  Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South Korea

  • Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co. to open at least 96 stores in 17 countries by 2018
  • Retail Arabia International to open at least 15 stores in 5 countries by 2018
  • Origin & Co., Ltd. to open up to 30 stores in South Korea over the next 5 years

TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - (TSX:L) Loblaw Companies Limited ("Loblaw") and its affiliates, the owners of Joe Fresh®, today announced the signing of three separate partnership agreements that bring the brand into 23 new countries. The agreements cover key growth markets in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South Korea. The partnerships represent the first expansion for Joe Fresh beyond North America.

These initiatives transform one of Canada's leading fashion brands into a global retail presence, driven by the Joe Fresh signatures of accessible, modern style and compelling value. With its partners, Joe Fresh will offer comprehensive collections of men's, women's and children's apparel, in addition to Joe Fresh Beauty® cosmetics, to a wide international audience.

"These first international agreements signify an important milestone for Joe Fresh as we build on the strong foundation we've established at home in Canada. We continue to evolve the brand forward and I'm thrilled to see Joe Fresh grow into a global brand, developing on the success we have had in the United States since launching there in 2011," said Joe Mimran, Creative Director of Joe Fresh. Mimran founded Joe Fresh in 2006 in partnership with Loblaw.

Today, Joe Fresh is available online, in more than 340 retail locations across Canada, in six freestanding stores in New York, including a flagship location on Fifth Avenue, and in over 650 J.C. Penney stores across the United States.

"In order to best tap these vibrant new markets, we have partnered with companies possessing deep local knowledge and wide expertise of the retail dynamics and consumer preferences in their respective geographies. Together, we are committed to bringing the Joe Fresh formula of sophisticated style and compelling value to a broad overseas audience. International markets are an important avenue of growth for Joe Fresh, combined with our own retail stores, in-store shops and burgeoning Canada e-commerce business," said Mario Grauso, chief operating officer of Joe Fresh Apparel Canada, an affiliate of Loblaw.

Grauso joined Joe Fresh in October 2013. A 20-plus year veteran of the fashion industry, Grauso was previously president of New York-based Vera Wang Group and president of Puig Fashion, parent company of Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne. Earlier in his career, Grauso held executive positions at Céline, Giorgio Armani, Escada and Calvin Klein.

The international agreements encompass the Joe Fresh women's, men's and children's lines, which offer apparel, activewear, sleepwear, accessories and footwear, in addition to the Joe Fresh Beauty cosmetics range.

Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co., based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is the partner for the Joe Fresh expansion into 17 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia, Serbia and Spain. Under terms of the agreement, the company plans to open at least 96 stores by 2018 in those markets, including 40 in Saudi Arabia alone. The first stores scheduled to open are in Saudi Arabia by summer 2014.

"We welcome the opportunity to partner with Joe Fresh and to bring its unique design sensibility and exciting retail format to our customers. We believe this partnership has the potential to become the world's single largest retail franchise by leveraging our respective strengths and shared ambitions for sustained growth across multiple markets. Joe Fresh speaks to consumers' desires, throughout all countries in which we operate, for well-designed product with attractive value and fashion appeal," said Simon Marshall, CEO of Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co.

Retail Arabia International, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the partner for five countries in the Middle East including United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. The company plans to open at least 15 stores by 2018 including nine in the UAE. The first stores are slated to open in the UAE later this year.

"Joe Fresh is an exciting and important addition to our brand portfolio. We expect a strong response from consumers across all of our markets to its spirited designs and engaging store concept," said Nabil Daud, CEO of Retail Arabia International. The company operates stores in the region under partnered brands Oscar de la Renta, House of Fraser, David Morris, Hamleys and Pretty Ballerinas.

Origin & Co., Ltd., based on Seoul, South Korea, is the partner for South Korea. The company plans to open up to 30 Joe Fresh retail locations in high traffic shopping districts, malls and department stores over the next five years. One of the first units will open in the Lotte World Mall this spring. The company plans to open a flagship store in Seoul later this year.

"We believe that Joe Fresh is ideally positioned for South Korea, a fashion-conscious market highly receptive to smart, classic design that is well-priced and well-executed," said Sungho Chung, Director of Domestic Enterprise at Origin & Co. and ILJIN Group.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Media Release contains forward-looking statements about Loblaw's objectives, plans, goals and aspirations. Forward-looking statements in this Media Release include statements relating to the proposed international expansion of Joe Fresh products, including planned store openings and the anticipated benefits of this expansion to Loblaw and its partners. These forward-looking statements reflect Loblaw's current estimates, beliefs and assumptions, which are based on management's perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors it believes are appropriate in the circumstances. Loblaw's estimates, beliefs and assumptions are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive and other uncertainties and contingencies regarding future events and as such, are subject to change. Numerous risks and uncertainties could cause Loblaw's actual plans, actions and results to differ materially from those expressed, implied or projected in the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, unanticipated developments that may delay or negatively impact the proposed international expansion, changes in economic and market conditions, changes in the economic conditions of its partners; heightened competition, whether from current competitors or new entrants to the marketplace and other risks and uncertainties discussed in Loblaw's materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities, from time to time, including the Enterprise Risks and Risk Management section of Loblaw's Annual Information Form. Loblaw can give no assurance that such estimates, beliefs and assumptions will prove to be correct. There can be no assurance that that proposed international expansion will be completed as anticipated or at all. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect Loblaw's expectations only as of the date of this Media Statement. Loblaw disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

ABOUT JOE FRESH AND LOBLAW COMPANIES LIMITED (TSX:L)

Founded in 2006, Joe Fresh is one of Canada's premiere sources for modern style and accessible design, offering comprehensive lifestyle collections for men, women and children. Joe Fresh delivers premium quality and incredible value in categories spanning apparel, accessories, footwear and Joe Fresh Beauty® cosmetics. The brand's design vision is driven by Joe Mimran of Joseph Mimran & Associates, Creative Director of Joe Fresh, Home and Entertainment for Loblaw Companies Limited. In Canada, Joe Fresh® products are available online and in more than 340 retail locations, including 16 freestanding and studio stores. In the United States, Joe Fresh operates six freestanding stores in New York, including a flagship in the landmark 510 Fifth Avenue building. Joe Fresh products are also available in over 650 J.C. Penney stores. For more information, visit Joefresh.com.

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 134,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points and PC Plus™ loyalty program.

ABOUT FAWAZ A. ALHOKAIR & CO. (A SAUDI JOINT STOCK COMPANY)

Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co. (SJSC) is a publicly traded retail conglomerate headquartered in Saudi Arabia. The company partners with over 65 international brands, operates in 14 countries and manages over 1,850 standalone mono-brand stores. The brands' portfolio includes leading global brands, such as Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Stradivarious, Zara Home, Uterque, Gap Inc., Mango, Topshop, La Senza, The Children's Place, Marks & Spencer, Tesco F&F, and Grupo Cortefiel. Primary areas of global operations currently include the domestic market of Saudi Arabia, other markets in the Middle East & North Africa, Central Asia and Caucasus regions and the United States. Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co. was registered as a partnership in 1990, incorporated as a joint stock company in 2006 and listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange in 2006. For more information, please visit Fawazalhokairfashion.com.

ABOUT RETAIL ARABIA INTERNATIONAL

Founded in 2007, Retail Arabia International operates franchise partnerships with globally recognized fashion and retail brands, leveraging a strong capital base and superior market knowledge. Based in Dubai, the company currently operates 2 Oscar de la Renta stores in Dubai and Riyadh, a House of Fraser department store in Abu Dhabi, a David Morris jewelry store in Dubai and 4 Hamleys toy stores in Dubai, Riyadh and Dhahran. The company is a unit of the Daud Group of Companies, which oversees diverse interests in the retail, food, beverage, construction, building materials, real estate, telecommunications, engineering, advertising and automotive sectors. For more information, please visit Retailarabiaco.com

ABOUT ORIGIN & CO., LTD., AND ILJIN GROUP

Founded in 1967, ILJIN Group is a leading global manufacturer and supplier to the components and materials industries. A pioneer in the sector, ILJIN Group was the first Korean company to develop power distribution hardware, copper clad steel wire, industrial synthetic diamonds, and electrodeposited copper foil for printed circuit boards. A focus on technology innovation led to its development of the first single-LCD panel for projectors. Based in Seoul, ILJIN Group is today the third-largest producer of industrial synthetic diamonds worldwide.

ILJIN Group has established Origin & Co. as an affiliated business-to-consumer company dedicated to operating the Joe Fresh brand in South Korea. For more information, please visit Iljin.com

SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited - Joe Fresh

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