A typical Sobeys grocery store. The chain is based in Nova Scotia but is buying Canada Safeway's outlets

Sobeys to buy up Safeway grocery stores

East coast grocer hasn't decided if it will keep the Safeway name or reflag stores

Canada Safeway stores in B.C. have a new owner.

Nova Scotia-based supermarket firm Sobeys, itself owned by Empire Company, is buying the Safeway chain’s 213 Canadian stores for $5.8 billion.

The deal with Safeway Inc. also includes numerous in-store pharmacies, gas stations, liquor stores and other distribution or manufacturing facilities across western Canada.

Sobeys hasn’t yet decided if it will keep the Safeway name or reflag the stores under one of its brands.

Sobeys already has a presence in B.C. through its IGA and Thrifty Foods brands.

Adding Safeway’s 75 B.C. stores will give Sobeys 107 outlets in this province. That compares to 101 for Overwaitea Food Group, 84 for Loblaws, 25 Walmarts and 14 Costcos.

The change of ownership may also mean changing product lines for customers who continue to frequent the stores, as well as possibly different loyalty card systems.

Both Sobeys and Safeway offer Air Miles reward points but the new operators indicated they will move to eliminate separate loyalty programs.

Big supermarket chains face growing competition as other retailers add groceries to their shelves.

“This is a significant and historic event for Sobeys, which has been proudly serving Canadian food shoppers for 106 years,” Empire president Paul Sobey said.

He called the acquisition an “excellent strategic fit” that strengthens the chain presence in Western Canada, and leverages its existing assets to better compete.

Empire officials intend to sell off Safeway stores’ real estate holdings and lease the properties back.

The planned purchase is subject to Competition Bureau approval.

Not everyone’s likes the deal.

Some shoppers posting on Canada Safeway’s Facebook page were critical of Sobeys, while others on Twitter doubt the takeout of a major grocery player will benefit consumers.

“Get ready for higher prices and less competition,” tweeted Vancouver’s Pete Quily.

Just Posted

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

Good Samaritans rescue feline family from under Agassiz Rosedale bridge

A special mewment for the kittens, soon to be sent to Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven

114th year of the Agassiz Fall Fair – Video and Photos

Corn-themed fair a success with locals, visitors

Lower Mainland sets Grouse Grind record

Madison Sands sets a new best time on Vancouver’s fitness landmark

Tent city campers now allowed to stay in B.C. provincial park

Contrary to earlier reports, Ministry of Environment says there is no deadline for campers to leave Greater Victoria camp site

Bus company vies to replace Greyhound in Kamloops to Vancouver, Kelowna

Alberta-based Ebus applies to the Passenger Transportation Board to replace Greyhound

Former VP of lululemon joins B.C. cannabis cultivation facility

Kerry Biggs will be the Chief Financial Officer of True Leaf, in Lumby

Could cannabis help keep people in B.C. on treatment for opioid addiction?

People on opioid agonist treatment face lower risks of overdosing, BC Centre on Substance Use says

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Thieves escape after man claims his wife is giving birth

RCMP searching for suspects in brazen daytime break in

Rural Canada Post carriers could see 25-per-cent pay hike: spokesman

An arbitrator has released a ruling in a long-standing pay equity dispute at Canada Post

Most Read