Downtown Vernon Safeway to rebrand as FreshCo Store

Parent company announces six Safeways are closing and being turned into FreshCo Store

Vernon’s downtown Canada Safeway is closing but becoming a new venture.

A release on the Sobeys Inc. website says the closure is set for Nov. 23, 2019, but also announced that Vernon will be home to one of six additional FreshCo Store investments in B.C. as part of the Discount format expansion into Western Canada, announced by Empire Company Ltd., whose key business is food retailing through wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc.

The company opened its first FreshCo Store in Western Canada in Mission on April 25, quickly followed by two store openings in Winnipeg on May 2. Two additional FreshCo stores opened in Richmond on May 16 and a further two stores will open in Surrey next month.

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“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. andWinnipeg.”

The six future FreshCo store locations announced today, all in British Columbia, are: 100 Mile House (closing Oct. 5); downtown Vernon, Williams Lake, Kamloops Sahali, Kelowna Dilworth and Powell River (all closing Nov. 23).

The FreshCo stores are expected to open in spring 2020, depending on the timing of construction schedules and permits. Store closure costs of the Safeway stores that will be converted to FreshCo stores will be charged to earnings in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

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.

Black Press Media has reached out to Sobeys for comment on how the closure will affect the downtown store staff.

Vernon will still have a Canada Safeway operating in the Vernon Square Mall.


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