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Industry NewsEmpire advances FreshCo expansion into Western Canada

Empire advances FreshCo expansion into Western Canada


Empire Company Ltd. has announced six additional FreshCo store investments in B.C. as part of its discount format expansion into Western Canada.

The six future FreshCo store locations are all former Safeway stores that are being converted. The six locations are:

  • 100 Mile House (closing October 5, 2019);
  • Williams Lake (all the rest closing November 23, 2019);
  • Kamloops Sahali;
  • Kelowna Dilworth;
  • Vernon Downtown;
  • Powell River.

The FreshCo stores are expected to open in Spring 2020, depending on the timing of construction schedules and permits.

The new stores are part of Empire’s plan for aggressive expansion of the FreshCo brand into Western Canada, announced in fiscal 2018. With the latest announcement, that expansion has seen 18 new FreshCo locations announced. In addition to the latest six announced locations, the new stores include

  • five new stores opened in B.C. and Manitoba in April and May;
  • two stores to open in Surrey, B.C. in July;
  • five locations to open in B.C. in Fall 2019 and Winter 2020.

The plan is to convert about a quarter of Empire’s underperforming Safeway and Sobeys stores to the FreshCo brand over five years.

Empire also separately announced that the Sobeys Urban Fresh Metcalfe store in Ottawa will be converted to a Farm Boy.

The combined closure costs related to these conversions are estimated to be approximately $15 million, which will be charged to operating earnings in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

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