Sobeys' Parent Company Empire Advances FreshCo Expansion into Western Canada
- by Alexis Schreiber
STELLARTON, NS - As part of its discount format expansion into Western Canada, Sobeys’ parent company Empire Company has revealed the locations of six additional FreshCo store investments in British Columbia. This comes after there were five successful FreshCo openings in B.C. In the 2018 fiscal year, on top of converting approximately 25 percent of its Safeway and Sobeys locations that were performing less than perfect over a five-year period, Empire announced plans for FreshCo growth into the West as well.
“Western Canada is responding extremely well to our smaller box discount format,” said Michael Medline, President and CEO, Empire Company. “We’ve been hyper-focused on selecting the right locations for FreshCo stores and are converting poorly performing Safeway and Sobeys stores. Opening FreshCo stores in these locations is allowing us to not only leverage existing real estate within our network, but also win market share we simply couldn’t compete for in the past.”
According to a press release, on April 25, 2019, the company first opened its FreshCo in Western Canada in Mission, B.C. On May 2, two store openings in Winnipeg, Manitoba, occured right after. On May 16, two more FreshCo stores opened in Richmond, B.C., and in July 2019, another two stores will open in Surrey, B.C.
Depending on the timing of construction schedules and permits, the FreshCo stores are expected to open in spring 2020.
Store closure costs of the Safeway stores that will be converted to FreshCo stores will be charged to earnings in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. In a separate announcement, the Sobeys Urban Fresh Metcalfe store in Ottawa, Ontario, will convert to a Farm Boy. Combined closure costs related to these conversions is estimated to be approximately $15 million, which will be charged to operating earnings in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
“Customer response to our first five FreshCo locations in B.C. and Manitoba has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Mike Venton, General Manager, Discount. “Discount is the fastest growing retail segment, and we’re now participating in a meaningful way in Western Canada, providing customers with more choice and market leading low prices. Customers have been very excited about our international product offering and easy-to-shop store format, and we’re ready to continue building on our progress in B.C. and Winnipeg.”
All six future FreshCo store locations the company announced include:
- 100 Mile House (closing October 5, 2019)
- Williams Lake
- Kamloops Sahali
- Kelowna Dilworth
- Vernon Downtown
- Powell River (all closing November 23, 2019)
For more news on the Empire Company’s expansion, keep reading AndNowUKnow.