Federated Co-operatives Limited to purchase 14 food stores from Sobeys Inc

Saskatoon, SK‎, 2014-2-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), on behalf of the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS), has agreed to purchase 14 food stores, including 4 co-located gas bars, from Sobeys Inc. FCL has agreed to purchase stores in Edmonton (4), Winnipeg (4), and one each in Regina, Saskatoon, Taber, Leduc, Wetaskiwin and Fort Saskatchewan. (Please see list at the end of the news release for site specific details and visit http://crs.coopconnection.ca/mycoop.html for additional information).

“This transaction is indeed a historical agreement for our federation. It is an excellent strategic fit that will strengthen Co-ops across Western Canada,” says FCL CEO Scott Banda. “We look forward to welcoming new employees and customers, acquainting them with quality products, service, and benefits that Co-ops have been offering members and customers for a century.”

The purchase is a two-step transaction for FCL: first, to acquire the 14 sites from Sobeys Inc; and, second, to transfer ownership and operations of 12 to local retail Co-ops with two being operated by The Grocery People (TGP), a wholly-owned subsidiary of FCL.

Pending completion of customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of March. The federal Competition Bureau has given approval to this transaction. Transfer of operations for individual locations will be phased in between mid-April and the end of May. All parties have agreed to work together to ensure a continued high level of customer service is provided during the transition.

Approximately 1,300 employees work at the stores involved in this transaction. They will continue to be employed at each of the respective locations following the transaction.

“We understand that this transition involves change for employees and customers. We look forward to getting to know you better and will work hard to earn your trust and business,” Banda says.

FCL, based in Saskatoon SK, is owned by 225 autonomous retail co-operatives and their 1.6 million individual member-owners in communities from Vancouver Island to northwestern Ontario. Retail co-ops currently operate approximately 250 food stores and 400 gas bar/convenience stores.

“The success of our federation has proven the strength and endurance of our model and the benefits it provides to Co-op members, customers and their home communities,” Banda says. “Traditions that started a century ago remain the cornerstone of who we are today — a promise to stay local, a commitment to community and a business model that shares profits with anyone who wishes to become a member. Our profits are your profits.”

During the past five years, the retail Co-ops involved in this transaction returned $300 million in cash back to their individual members in recognition of their patronage of the Co-op.

In addition, local Co-ops in partnership with FCL donate millions of dollars annually to various local and regional community causes including Children’s Hospital Foundations across Western Canada, Breast Cancer Foundation of Canada, Red Cross, local United Way campaigns, Co-op Youth Camps and provincial 4-H Councils, to name but a few.

Retail Co-ops and TGP are eager to welcome new employees as team members and look forward to owning and operating the stores later this spring.

“This purchase strengthens our presence on the east side of Saskatoon and will add a talented group of people to our team. Those who have shopped in the store over the years will continue to see friendly, familiar faces, and now the products and services Co-op shoppers have always enjoyed,” says Saskatoon Co-op GM Grant Wicks.

“Wetaskiwin Co-op is excited to offer our community a new brand of value, a new brand of service and a new brand of products with members sharing in our profits at the end of the year,” says Wetaskiwin Co-op GM Allan Halter.

“Residents living in the south part of Regina have increasingly been calling us to open a Co-op food store in their neighbourhood. This agreement allows us to achieve this and we look forward to providing them with quality Co-op products and services in the very near future,” says Sherwood Co-op GM Troy Verboom.

“The opportunity to acquire the food store and gas bar in Taber allows us to expand our product and service offerings to existing and new members in the Taber area. We look forward to serving our members and customers with familiar faces and friendly staff you have been used to in the past,” says Medicine Hat Co-op GM Ted Rodych.

“Red River Co-op’s desire to acquire these sites was driven by what we see as an opportunity to both diversify our business model and add an additional service to our more than 240,000 members in and around the City of Winnipeg. Because of Red River Co-op’s strong market performance and solid financial base, now is the perfect time to enter the food business with the support of our new employees,” says Red River Co-op GM Doug Wiebe.

“North Central Co-op is thrilled to be acquiring two new food stores in Edmonton and one in Fort Saskatchewan. These new sites will complement the array of services and products we already provide to our members and customers. Although membership is not a requirement, we encourage our customers to become a member and receive the benefit of our equity and cash-back program on their purchases,” says North Central Co-op GM Ed Berney.

“We look forward to welcoming the new employees and customers and making them feel at home here at Leduc Co-op. With the new grocery store beside our existing Home Centre and Gas Bar, this makes shopping Co-op even more convenient. This purchase once again shows our commitment to grow in step with our community,” says Leduc Co-op GM Rick Polasek.

“TGP is grateful for this opportunity to acquire the Ottewell and Gold Bar locations in Edmonton. Being in business the last 50 years has taught us that a grocery store is more than just the food on its shelf; it’s about being a community member. We look forward to working with the Ottewell and Gold Bar communities to develop programs that are tailored to the needs of these two neighbourhoods,” says TGP President Jim Bailey.

The following list identifies the communities, brands, locations and the specific CRS operations involved in the transaction:

Community Brand
(** including gas bar)
Location Transferring to:
Winnipeg Safeway 1441 Main Street Red River Co-op
Winnipeg Safeway 77 Vermilion Road Red River Co-op
Winnipeg Safeway ** 850 Dakota Street Red River Co-op
Winnipeg Safeway 1120 Grant Avenue Red River Co-op
Edmonton Sobeys 18370 Lessard Road North Central Co-op
Edmonton Safeway ** 2331 – 66th Street NW North Central Co-op
Edmonton Sobeys 5036 – 106th Avenue NW The Grocery People
Edmonton IGA 6204 – 90th Avenue NW The Grocery People
Fort Saskatchewan Sobeys 10004 – 99th Avenue North Central Co-op
Taber Safeway ** 4926 – 46th Avenue Medicine Hat Co-op
Leduc Sobeys 5421 – 50th Street Leduc Co-op
Wetaskiwin Sobeys 4703 – 50th Street Wetaskiwin Co-op
Regina Safeway 3801 Albert Street Sherwood Co-op
Saskatoon Safeway ** 3310 – 8th Street East Saskatoon Co-op