Updated: Six Safeway stores in B.C. including two in the Cariboo will be converted into the discount banner of Sobeys Incorporated.
Empire Company Limited announced in a news release Tuesday it will be advancing its Freshco expansion into Western Canada following five successful Freshco openings in B.C and Manitoba earlier this spring.
The Safeway location in 100 Mile House will close October 5, 2019, and in Williams Lake, Kamloops Sahali, Kelowna Dilworth, Vernon Downtown, and Powell River on November 23, 2019.
Empire Company Limited said depending on the time of construction schedules and permits, the FreshCo stores are expected to open in Spring 2020.
“We’re committed to ensuring these conversions do not impact our pharmacy customers. We will continue to operate temporary pharmacy locations while renovations and construction are underway. The FreshCo locations will open with pharmacy departments where our customers can expect the same great service from our pharmacy teams. There will be no interruption in patient care or customer files,” said Jacquelin Weatherbee Director, External Communications.
As the 100 Mile location does not currently have a pharmacy department, no pharmacy will open for this store.
“We are working with employees and unions to ensure the terms of their collective agreements are met as we work through this transition,” Weatherbee added.
“As always, we will expend every effort to place employees in other stores within our store network in B.C.”
The company plans to expand FreshCo into the West by converting approximately 25% of its underperforming Safeway and Sobeys locations over a five year period.
The first FreshCo store in Western Canada opened in Mission, B.C. on April 25, 2019.
“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.”