Canadian retailer Loblaw has begun a trial of its warehouse club format in Ontario, having operated the format in western Canada for almost a decade.

Company spokesman Geoff Wilson told Dow Jones News that Loblaw has opened a Real Canadian Wholesale Club in Whitby, Ontario, representing the company’s first store in the east of the country under that banner.

“This is something that we’ve been very successful in,” Wilson said. “We were always looking to try this version…in eastern Canada.”

Wilson said the decision was not connected to the decision by US retail giant Wal-Mart to bring its wholesale concept Sam’s Club to Canada in autumn 2003.

He added that the Real Canadian Wholesale Club is a “glorified” version of its Cash and Carry banner, which it already operates in eastern Canada catering to small-business owners. However, the wholesale club stores are also open to the general public.

If the trial store proves successful Loblaw plans to expand the chain further.