Sobeys cutting 800 jobs across Canada

Sobeys Inc. is cutting more than 800 jobs, almost 20 per cent of its office staff across the country, according to news reports.

Its chief executive, Michael Medline, says the job cuts are part of efforts to create one national organization out of five regional businesses. He says only office employees are affected by today's announcement.

According to a Globe and Mail story, the staff layoffs, to be announced internally on Friday, are part of Sobeys's major revamping, which it has dubbed Project Sunrise, and is aimed at slashing $500 million annually in two years. Some of the employee reductions have already occurred and others will take place over the coming months until July. The country's second largest grocer, which also owns Safeway, is expected to disclose a charge it will take to cover severances in its next quarterly results on Dec. 13.

But the grocery retailer plans to continue to invest in its operations and prepare for a broader e-commerce launch with home deliveries to take on a fast changing retail market and emerge a winner, stated Michael Medline, chief executive of Sobeys and its parent, Empire Co. Ltd.

Besides the Sobeys banner, the company operates Safeway stores in western Canada and the FreshCo discount brand.

With files from CP.

Photo: Globe and Mail

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