The Overwaitea Food Group, which operates Save-on-Foods, is the new owner of four Greater Victoria grocery stores previously owned by Sobeys.
Safeway locations at Fort and Foul Bay roads, Tillicum, University Heights and Sidney will transition to Save-on-Foods locations sometime between mid-March and the end of April, said Julie Dickson, Overwaitea spokesperson.
“We start to take possession in mid-March and take two or three stores a week over about a 6 week period,” she said.
The sales are part of a Canadian Competition Bureau order issued to Sobeys in October to sell 23 Safeway locations. Overwaitea is purchasing 15 store locations in B.C. and Alberta with today’s announcement.
“We are thrilled to be able to welcome these stores, along with their existing team members and customers to our group,” said Overwaitea president Darrell Jones, in a statement. “As a local grocer our philosophy is to tailor our stores and the mix in those stores to suit the needs of our customers and their communities.”
Local rumours about possible interest from Whole Foods purchasing the Safeway locations circulated on social media this week, but proved ill-founded.
Fourteen of the 15 store locations will become Save-on-Foods; one location will become Cooper’s Foods, according to a press release.
In June, Sobeys, which operates Thrifty Foods in Victoria, announced it was buying 213 grocery stores, 10 liquor stores, four distribution centres and 12 manufacturing centres that make up Canada Safeway, in a $5.8-billion deal. The deal triggered the sell-off order from the Competition Bureau.
-with files from Edward Hill