It could be years before any possible changes occur to the city’s Safeway grocery stores after the company was purchased by East Coast-based Sobeys Inc.
Last week it was announced four Winnipeg Safeway locations were purchased by Red River Co-op as part of a major sale to comply with a Competition Bureau order.
All current Sobeys locations and Safeway outlets in Brandon — including the Corral Centre and Shoppers Mall locations — will remain as-is for the time being as the grocer deals with merging cross-country logistics, inventory and other back-end details which could take up to three years to complete, a spokesperson said.
“Decisions around branding will be done in the future, but it’s not an immediate priority,” said Mississauga-based Sobeys spokesperson Andrew Walker.
He said “We haven’t made any branding decisions” and wouldn’t comment specifically on the future of the city’s Safeway locations.
“It’s business as usual for the stores, Safeway and Sobeys.”
Last October, the federal Competition Bureau ruled that Halifax-based Sobeys had to sell 23 of the acquired stores to other grocery store operators to avoid over-concentration in the market.
Red River Co-op’s parent company, Federated Co-operatives Ltd., agreed to buy 10 other Safeway, Sobeys and IGA stores, including four in Edmonton and one each in Regina, Saskatoon, Taber, Alta., Wetaskiwin, Alta., and Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.
Overwaitea Food Group has agreed to buy 15 other stores, including three under the Thrifty Foods banner, across Alberta and B.C. Through the negotiation of these transactions, Sobeys agreed to sell another seven stores in the two western-most provinces.
Last week’s announcement was the latest change since Sobeys Inc.’s $5.8-billion purchase of Safeway and its 213 stores across Western Canada in June.
» email@example.com, with files from the Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 21, 2014