At least five grocery stores, including two Safeways and an IGA in Winnipeg, will close over the next few months, victims of last year's multibillion-dollar sale to Sobeys.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union says staff were notified earlier this week their stores would close, likely in the fall. The move will affect at least 300 workers, though many will have bumping rights into other unionized stores that are short-staffed.
The stores slated for closure are:
- The Maples IGA on Jefferson Avenue.
- The Safeway on Ness Avenue at Sturgeon Road.
- The Garden City Safeway on Leila Avenue at McPhillips Street.
- The Safeway store in the mall at Killarney Avenue and Pembina Highway
- A Safeway in Brandon.
- A Safeway in Steinbach.
The UFCW says Sobeys is also closing a small cash-and-carry store in Thompson next month.
The closures are expected to be announced this morning as part of the release of Sobeys' quarterly financial results. All Winnipeg Safeway stores are unionized, but several Sobeys and IGA locations are not. It's likely some of those non-unionized stores are on the closure list, which could include as many as 50 shops across the country.
The closures are part of a round of restructuring in the grocery market in Winnipeg and across Canada that has seen stores and warehouses mothballed or sold to other retailers such as Co-op.
It began a year ago when Sobeys acquired Safeway Canada and its 213 stores for $5.8 billion and reached a deal with the Competition Bureau to sell some stores in Western Canada to avoid neighbourhood monopolies.
Safeway stores in Southdale, Grant Park, St. Vital and on Main Street in north Winnipeg were recently transformed into Co-ops. It was widely expected Sobeys would look to shut some Safeway stores in saturated locations where leases were expiring or where stores were in need of costly facelifts.
Calls to Sobeys for comment Wednesday evening were not returned.