July 2, 2018
As the second largest food retailer in Canada (after Loblaws), Sobeys operates over 1,500 stores across the country. While there are only 254 self-titled Sobeys locations in Canada, the Sobeys umbrella includes Foodland, Safeway, IGA, IGA Extra, Needs Convenience, Marché Bonichoix, FreshCo, Lawton Drugs, Les Marchés Tradition, IGA (Western Canada), Thrifty Foods, Rachelle-Béry, and Price Chopper.
Headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys reported national sales of more than $24 billion CAD in the 2017 fiscal year.
Who owns Sobeys?
The Empire Company Limited, founded in 1963, is a Canadian conglomerate engaged mostly in food retail and corporate investments. The Empire Company owns the Sobeys supermarket chain, which operates in all 10 provinces, as well as the 13 other banners under the Sobeys umbrella.
How it all began
Way back in 1907, John W. Sobey founded Sobeys as a meat delivery business. In 1924, his son Frank convinced him to expand into a full grocery business serving the Pictou County region (which is about as far east as you can go in Canada).
Frank was highly motivated and, as the driving force behind the Sobeys business, he opened its first self-serve supermarket in 1949.
In 2002, in a concerted effort to pattern itself after the Publix supermarket chain in the southern U.S., Sobeys undertook major changes in its store design and introduced “Ready to serve.”
In 2007, Sobeys announced a $260 million takeover offer for the Thrifty Foods chain in BritishColumbia.
In March 2012, Sobeys acquired 236 Shell gas station locations in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The following year, Sobeys purchased Safeway’s Canadian operations for $5.8 billion, an acquisition that added 214 locations to its portfolio.
The world’s most innovative online grocery platform
Sobeys has partnered with British firm, Ocado Technology, to bring the “best-in-the-world grocery e-commerce experience to Canadian customers.”
This new on-line shopping/delivery system is due to be introduced in Canada in 2020. Get ready, Canada, for the biggest selection, freshest products and most reliable delivery available anywhere on the planet.
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